Turkey: All eyes on Erdogan in historic presidential vote

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Turkey: All eyes on Erdogan in historic presidential vote

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The people of Turkey are making history today, voting for their country’s first popularly-elected president.

And the frontrunner is a man they know only too well.

Long-time Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his roots in political Islam and his tightening grip on power polarising the nation, is hoping to become a newly-empowered President.

The role has traditionally been largely ceremonial and until now chosen by parliament

Leading the challenge against Erdogan is diplomat and academic Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, backed by parliament’s two biggest opposition parties.

He has warned against a presidential system, arguing that the head of state should be impartial and rise above the turbulence of daily politics.

And then there is Turkey’s first openly Kurdish presidential candidate, Selahattin Demirtas

Some supporters liken his candidacy to Barack Obama’s run to become the first African-American US president.

A big difference is that Demirtas, head of the left-wing People’s Democratic Party, is unlikely to win.