Turkey’s closely watched presidential election is headed to a May 28 runoff, as both incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his main rival fell short of the 50% needed to win outright in Sunday’s vote. Erdoğan is facing his toughest challenge since coming to power 20 years ago, as opposition candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu leads a broad coalition in a bid to unseat him amid criticism for his administration’s economic policies, weakening Turkey’s democracy and poor response to the deadly February earthquakes. Kılıçdaroğlu has vowed closer ties with NATO and the EU and to reinforce democratic institutions. We get an update from Istanbul with Turkish historian Kaya Genç, who says Erdoğan’s political survival was a “stunning comeback” that contradicted polls predicting a comfortable first-round victory for Kılıçdaroğlu. “This was a total shock for the Turkish establishment,” he says.
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