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Would Turkey’s Erdogan accept an election loss after recent comments?

Already divisive language has become more threatening as the May 14 polls loom, leading to fears for Turkey's democratic transition.
Turkish President and People's Alliance's presidential candidate Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during an election campaign rally in Ankara, on April 30, 2023.

ISTANBUL — With just 11 days to go until presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey, politicians' rhetoric is growing more ferocious and physical violence is rising. 

Hopes of a smooth transition should the opposition succeed in the May 14 presidential and parliamentary votes or a potential runoff for the presidency two weeks later are being dimmed by ominous comments from senior government figures that indicate a refusal to hand over power. 

“My nation will not surrender this country to the one who becomes president with the support of Qandil,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told supporters in Ankara on Monday. 

The Qandil mountains on the Iraq-Iran border are the main base of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a 39-year insurgency against the Turkish state. 

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