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Turkiye's Most Important Election

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan faces his most challenging political test in two decades. The opposition led by former bureaucrat Kemal Kilicdaroglu, according to some polls, can cross the 50% majority in the first round of the vote on 14 May.

Erdogan has launched an aggressive campaign to ensure his political survival and maintain his legacy.

The president has faced criticism over an economic crisis and a slow response to a devastating earthquake earlier this year.

The tight race has drawn comparisons to the circumstances that led to the rise of his conservatist-economic liberal coalition, AK Party in 2002, an election also shaped by high inflation and economic turmoil.

Erdogan's opponents, led by Kemal Kilicdaroglu who managed to unite six parties from different political backgrounds behind him as well as securing the support of main Kurdish political bloc, have promised to undo many of the changes he has made to Turkey.

The Turkish president has focused on industrial milestones, such as the launch of Turkey's first electric car and the inauguration of its first amphibious assault ship. Additionally, he has secured Turkey's first delivery of natural gas from a Black Sea reserve and inaugurated its first nuclear power station in a ceremony attended virtually by President Vladimir Putin.

The economy was one of Erdogan's main assets in the first decade of his rule, when Turkey enjoyed a protracted boom with new roads, hospitals, and schools and rising living standards for its 85 million people. However, the struggling economy has become a significant challenge in the current election.

Erdogan's drive for greater control polarized the country and alarmed international partners.

Despite the domestic and international challenges, Turkiye's relationship with Australia remains strong, with bilateral trade between the two countries reaching $2 billion. The two nations have shared a deep friendship since 1915, and regardless of the election outcome, Turkey and Australia's longstanding bond is expected to endure.

Whatever happens at the polls this coming weekend or in the second round two weeks later, the nation which sits in one of the most geopolitically volatile parts of the world will wake up to a new era.

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