In his first campaign rally, Turkish PM Erdoğan vows to be an active president
AA PhotoTurkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has vowed to "remain active" if he is elected president next month.
"I'm not leaving you. I'm not pausing to serve. I'm not going to rest. On the contrary, I'll be nominated to a higher post to better serve you, my country and my nation," Erdoğan said during his first presidential campaign rally in the Black Sea city of Samsun on July 5.
The first round of the presidential election is scheduled for Aug. 10. If no candidates receives 50 percent plus one vote, the two at the top will run off in a second round on Aug. 24.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) officially announced Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, a former secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), as their joint presidential candidate on June 16.
The Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), on the other hand, nominated its co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş as its presidential candidate on July 1.
"We sided with the nation. The CHP, MHP and HDP sided with the state. This is our difference," Erdoğan said in Samsun, while stressing the symbolism of the city, where Mustafa Kemal Atatürk started Turkey's independence war in 1919.
"I kindly ask you to visit the ballot box and vote on Aug. 10. If there is somebody you know having a vacation, find them and tell that they must come to vote," he added.
The participation rate is seen as key for the election. CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has repeatedly claimed that İhsanoğlu would be able to win only if his party and the MHP can get all their constituents to the ballot box.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) confirmed expectations by announcing Erdoğan as its presidential candidate at a lavish presentation event on July 1, with the attendance of nearly 4,000 party members.
Erdoğan, who had previously made clear his aspiration to become the country’s first ever president to be directly elected by popular vote, had described the election as a “milestone” for a "new era" during his acceptance speech. “Those who ask for a 'neutral' president in reality want a president who will side with the state against the people. That era is now closed,” he had said.