Turkey faces two contradictory choices. Erdogan vs Kilicdaroglu

Turkey will choose on Sunday between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been in power for twenty years, and Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the candidate of a broad opposition coalition.

Two possible futures and two options for society are open in this country of 85 million people, and between Erdogan, 69, and Kilicdaroglu, 74, it is not about a different generation, but about style and conviction.

Erdogan, the head of state who comes from a humble family in a popular neighborhood in Istanbul, is a devout Muslim who advocates family values and still leads the conservative majority, and Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who was born in modest circles in Dersim (present-day Tunceli) in eastern Anatolia, is an economist and former civil servant, who headed Turkish social security, and since 2010 is the head of the Republican People's Party (social, democratic) established by the founder of the Turkish nation, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who has long advocated strict secularism.

Demonstrating their different convictions, Erdogan ended his campaign yesterday evening in front of Istanbul's Hagia Sophia Cathedral, which he turned into a mosque in 2020, while his rival ended his campaign in Ankara in front of Ataturk's mausoleum.

Voters in Turkey went to the polls on Sunday to cast their votes in pivotal parliamentary and presidential elections, and voting began at 8 a.m. (0500 GMT) and will close at 5 p.m. (1400 GMT). If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the presidential race will go to a runoff on May 28.

More than 64 million people, including 3.4 million voters abroad, are eligible to vote in the election, which takes place in the year Turkey celebrates the centenary of the founding of its republic.