Erdogan is currently leading the elections. The second round, and the play-off, will be held on Sunday, May 28. After the first round, Erdogan received 49.52 percent of the vote, while his main rival, Kemal Kilicdaroglu (74), received 44.88 percent. Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu disagree on a number of foreign issues, including relations with the West and Russia. While Kilicdaroglu intends to resolve long-standing tensions with the West, this does not appear to be Erdogan’s immediate plan.
It is clear that the current Turkish president ignores Western pressure on his country to support sanctions against Moscow. He told CNN: “We are not at a stage where we are imposing sanctions on Russia as the West did.” We are not bound by Western sanctions. We are a strong country and we have a positive relationship with Russia (…). Russia and Turkey need each other in all areas.
Erdogan says the West is mishandling Putin. “The West does not have a balanced approach and you need that with a country like Russia,” he said.
The Turkish president concluded the so-called grain deal with Russia last summer. It was intended to ship millions of tons of banned grain out of Ukraine. After invading Ukraine, one of the world’s largest food exporters, Russia closed the Black Sea ports with its warships. As a result, food prices rose, and famine threatened in many developing countries. Erdogan confirmed in the interview that the grain deal was the result of his “special relationship” with his Russian counterpart.
Erdogan believes he will be able to continue his 21-year presidency. He concluded, “I believe my people will stand up for a strong democracy.”
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