by Aggelos Skordas
With Turkey’s snap elections approaching President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to harden his rhetoric towards neighbouring Greece and Cyprus in a quest to gain as many votes as possible from the far-right audience of his counter-candidate Meral Aksener. In a meeting with members of his ruling AK Party in Ankara on Tuesday, Erdogan characteristically said that he is ready to “implement the appropriate policies for the interests of our country and our people”.
Specifically, according to Cyprus News Agency (CNA), Erdogan promised his party members that his country will pursue its interests “from Cyprus to the Aegean, from the Black Sea to Thrace and everywhere”. The Turkish President also said that his party’s electoral campaign will kick off from Izmir, while a provincial conference of the party’s women will be held in Istanbul on Saturday.
So far, Meral Aksener has emerged as the most influential candidate of the anti-Erdogan scene. The former Home Secretary who created her own so called “Good Party” (iYi Party) last December is known for her ultranationalist agenda as well as her aggressive and provocative remarks regarding a series of Aegean islands.
Last week the Turkish President called snap elections for June 24, despite the government previously promising they will go ahead as planned in November 2019. The move is seen by many political commentators as a cynical move by Erdogan to further consolidate power in a time he enjoys popularity largely due to his recent polemic nationalistic rhetoric aimed largely for internal consumption.