Turkish opposition becoming hopeful - Economist

Turkish opposition forces are gaining momentum in the run-up to June 24 elections, The Economist magazine said.

But the incumbent, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, had many advantages, it said.

“The strongman enjoys unwavering support from his religious base, indirect control over practically all big news outlets, and emergency powers that allow him to rule by decree, lock up some critics and make others think twice before speaking,” it said.

However, two of his rivals - secularist Republican People’s Party candidate Muharrem İnce and nationalist Good Party candidate Meral Akşener - were mounting strong challenges.

They are making use of an alliance structure that Erdoğan himself introduced in order to save the parliamentary seats of his allies in the National Movement Party, whose support now appears to be considerably below the 10 percent parliamentary threshold.

However, should Erdoğan succeed in winning both the presidency and the parliament, he would gain bonus powers as part of a change to a presidential system of government, The Economist said.

“The changes will kick in immediately after the elections, reducing parliamentary oversight, abolishing the office of prime minister and concentrating all executive power in the hands of the president.”