With the country straddling both Europe and the Middle East; it plays a key role in maintaining stability in the region. Current President Erdogan divides opinion, but can he remain in power?
Sputnik spoke with Dr. Ezra Ozyurek, Professor Of Turkish Studies at LSE and Yaprak Gursoy, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Aston University.
Sputnik: Is Erdogan likely to win the election and who are his strongest challengers?
Yaprak Gursoy: I think he is likely to win the elections and his strongest challenges are Muharrem Ince, who is running for the opposition party; the Republican People's Party and the second is Meral Aksener, who founded a new party called the good party and she is a formidable candidate for the Presidential elections.
If there is opposition to him from his own party, they could become more powerful and he is already responding to the demands of the opposition, for example, agreeing to lift the state of emergency if he is re-elected. Of course, if we have another President; this could lead to radical change within Turkey.
Sputnik: Will Turkey change if Erdogan loses?
Yaprak Gursoy: It's hard to say as he has been ruling for the past 16 years. The new incumbent will change the presidential system and Turkey will go back to a parliamentary system. So it will reverse some of his policies but not changing much
Sputnik: Has Erdogan been a successful President?
Yaprak Gursoy: He is a leader with quite a lot of skill regarding communicating his message and keeping his party together. His rule has been challenged by intense polarisation as Turkey is not very united anymore, and is very different to before he came to power.
The views and opinions expressed by the speakers do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.