Turkey is holding its breath ahead of the Aug. 10 presidential election - to be decided by popular vote rather than the Turkish Parliament for the first time in the country's history. Three candidates running for the presidency expedited their electoral campaigns and adopted softer rhetoric to attract different parties' voters.
On Wednesday, the Independent Nationalist Platform announced that they would support Turkish Prime Minister and Justice and Development Party (AK Party) presidential candidate Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the upcoming presidential race. Yesterday, center-right nationalist Motherland Party (Anavatan Partisi) leader İbrahim Çelebi stated that they would support Erdoğan on Aug. 10.
Turkey's main opposition parties' - Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) - joint presidential candidate and former Secretary-General of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu also aims to be more "inclusive" to garner the votes of different social segments. As yet, certain minor parties announced that they would support the CHP and MHP's joint candidate.
Responding to the question of whether he would approve of a bill regarding the freedom of illegal PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan - who is serving life in prison- in an interview with the Turkish daily BirGün, İhsanoğlu said that the president has to accept everything on which society agreed.
İhsanoğlu on July 3 commented on the current reconciliation process aiming to solve the Kurdish question against which the MHP has taken a harsh and uncompromising stance. He said the country has been used to solving problems by use of force for years, but this approach needs to be changed.
In his column at Daily Sabah GENAR head İhsan Aktaş noted that the patriotic electorate has displayed a flexible electoral attitude notwithstanding their political allegiance.
Aktaş added that the nationalist constituency, who grasp the fact that the joint candidate İhsanoğlu is being supported by certain international powers, desires to show their patriotic stance by supporting the most national and native of the present candidates, Erdoğan.