Why Turkey’s president is strong election favorite despite economic turmoil

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The Turkish people and economy are being pummeled by sky-high inflation, and many are still recovering from a devastating earthquake made worse by a slow government response. Yet President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — a populist with increasingly authoritarian instincts — enters Sunday’s runoff election as the strong favorite against opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu after falling just shy of victory in the first round of voting. Erdogan’s wide appeal stem from his deep connection with conservative and religious supporters, and his willingness to keep government spending high despite worsening inflation. He also tightly controls the media. Kilicdaroglu has struggled to sway supporters of Erdogan, who has held power for 20 years.