Nostalgic for Westernized Turkey, Western media root for Erdogan fall
Major Western media news outlets consider that Kilicdaroglu's win in the elections would be a victory for the West and its "values".
Turkey's presidential elections were the center-focus of Western media headlines, in which some news outlets did not hide their anti-Erdogan sentiment and even went as far as rooting for Erdogan's opponent Kilicdaroglu whom they considered would benefit their fight against Russia.
American news giant The New York Times headlined its report, "Erdogan's loss in Turkey will cause relief in the West and concern in Moscow."
The newspaper considered that Europe will be happy with an "easier Turkey" and that Erdogan's fall means that Russia will lose a main partner in the region.
Check out: Al Mayadeen's coverage of Turkish General Elections 2023
Erdogan a 'frustrating partner to the West'
The Wall Street Journal was more subtle in its title "Erdogan and Opposition Both Claim Lead in Turkish Election," however, it did not reflect a leaner approach to the sitting Turkish President.
In its report, the newspaper said Erdogan disintegrated the country's institutions during his 20 years as a leading political figure, adding that he exploited his membership in NATO and the war in Ukraine to garner economic profit for Turkey and boost his political reign.
The Turkish leader has proven to a be "frustrating" and difficult partner to the West, WSJ added, accusing him of blocking NATO's eastern expansion while developing ties with Russia.
On the other hand, the report shed light on Kilicdaroglu's presidential promises of putting Turkey on a new path to revitalize democracy and prioritize relations with its Western allies.
Read more: Foreign countries meddling in Turkish elections: Innovation Party lead
Drinking wine and ballroom dancing
A Politico report took a different angle to denounce Erdogan, hailing the role of the founder of the secular Turkish republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, in Westernizing the country, and called his era a "resonance".
Ataturk's ruling was secular and modernizing, the news outlet said, recalling his adoption of Western models and Latin letters and banning Ottoman Fez hats in favor of Western-style hats. In this aspect, Erdogan is far away from the "ballroom-dancing", "wine drinking", and "field marshal" Ataturk, it added.
But the news outlet went on further to mention, in a form of accusation, Erdogan's desires to make Turkey more tech independent, including in the production of electric cars, and to develop more domestic lines of production, especially in the defense sector.
On the other hand, Politico considered that Kilicdaroglu is trying to fully bring back Ataturk's legacy and push for EU members, in addition to steering toward the West and its values. It also brought up Erdogan's final campaign move in the Hagia Sophia mosque, in contrast to that of his opponent laying flowers on the grave of Ataturk.
Erdogan's natural disaster
In its report, "Turkey decides on future with or without Erdogan," BBC News focused more on the earthquake repercussions, indicating that Erdogan is indirectly responsible for the post-suffering of the natural disaster survivors.
According to the British broadcaster, all of Turkey's voters, including supporters of the Turkish leader, are troubled by two issues over anything else; surging inflation and two earthquakes.
Kilicdaroglu is promising a more pro-Western state under his presidency, the report added, praising the opposition candidate's thrive for democracy while accusing Erdogan of being the main reason for Turkey's economic downturn for not following suit of Western countries in increasing rates. Nowhere in its report did the British broadcaster mention the US sanctions under former US President Donald Trump or the Covid-19 pandemic, which closed down the world's largest economies, such as the United States and China both of whom are still are still suffering from the repercussions of that period.
'Books' vs 'hardscrabble'
Perhaps, the French news outlet AFP probably used the most implicit and demeaning language in its attack on Erdogan, while putting his opponent on a pedestal.
Under a report titled "Erdogan vs Kilicdaroglu: Two visions of Turkey's future," the news agency said that the Turkish President "embraces chaos," and "glorifies" Turkey's Islamic past, while Kilicdaroglu aims to establish calm and prosperity in the divided country.
But the report did not stop at attempting to shame Erdogan's ideology, it indirectly went after his working-class upbringing in a "hardscrabble part of Istanbul" compared to his "bookish former civil servant" opponent.
"A devout 69-year-old who has created chronic headaches for the West," the report described Erdogan.
Over 30 Turkish political parties and over 150 independent parliamentary candidates are competing in Turkey's most important elections in over five decades.
The People's Alliance, Nation Alliance, Ancestral Alliance, Labor and Freedom Alliance, and Union of Socialist Forces Alliance were the five multiparty blocs in the running.
Some 973 districts and 1,094 district election boards held a total of 191,885 ballot boxes to elect a new president and fresh members of parliament, who will serve a term of five years.
A combined total of over 64.1 million voters are eligible to vote both in the country and abroad, including around 4.9 million who will vote for the first time in Turkey. The number of imprisoned voters is 53,172.
In case no presidential candidate exceeded the 50 percent mark, a runoff election will be held on May 28, where the politician with the higher number of voters will claim the position of president of Turkey.