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Turkey - Presidential Elections: Can Erdogan's economic record help him keep seat amid challenges? - by Umut Uras

Sitting by his small telephone sale and repair shop in the buzzing Istanbul district of Besiktas, Hasan Kus is pessimistic about the future of Turkey's economy.

A little over a week before the country's key elections, the 44-year-old believes the financial situation will worsen regardless the outcome of the June 24 polls.

"People are merely trying to pick the better scenario, compared to the other ones," says Kus, before trying to sell a phone charger to a customer.

The economy is going to be a decisive factor in the upcoming vote that will transition Turkey from a parliamentary system to an executive one, in line with constitutional changes approved in a referendum last year.

The presidential and parliamentary polls will be held under a state of emergency, in place since July 2016 following a failed deadly coup blamed by the government on the movement of Fethullah Gulen, a US-based self-exiled religious leader.

On the economic front, the polls come against a conflicting backdrop of skyrocketing growth rate - up 7.4 percent last year - and a depreciating currency.

The Turkish lira dropped more than 20 percent against the US dollar this year, prompting the Central Bank to raise interest rates multiple times to shore up one of the world's worst-performing currencies. Meanwhile, both inflation and current account deficit are on the rise.

Under these circumstances, the Turkish electorate appears divided about who is best equipped to deal with the ongoing economic uncertainties.

Voters who blame the uncertainty on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) believe change is needed after 15 years to correct the policies that spawned the current problems.

Note EU-Digest: It is time for a change in Turkey after 15 years of Erdogan. President Erdogan has brought Turkey close to total economic ruin, and based on latest polls can only win the upcoming Presidential elections if he succeeds, once again, to have his associates fiddle with the ballot boxes and votes to change the outcome....? 

Read more: Can Erdogan's economic record help him keep seat amid challenges? | Turkey News | Al Jazeera

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