Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan launched his AK Party's (AKP) re-election campaign on Tuesday with a pledge to slash inflation to single digits and boost economic growth, as he seeks to extend his two decades in power in a May 14 vote.
Erdogan is facing his biggest political challenge since the AKP came to power in 2002, with polls showing support for him flagging in recent years after unorthodox economic policies hobbled the lira currency and sent inflation surging.
"We will continue to grow our economy through investment, employment, production, exports and current surplus. We will bring inflation back down to single digits and definitely save our country from this problem," he told a stadium crowd in Ankara.
Erdogan's aggressive interest rate cuts sent inflation to a 24-year peak above 85% in October before it dipped to near 50% in March. The ensuing cost-of-living crisis has gripped Turkish households and squeezed earnings and savings.
"We will improve the investment further with a structure based on a free-market economy integrated with the world," the ruling party's manifesto said, aiming for annual growth of 5.5% in 2024-2028 and GDP of $1.5 trillion by end-2028.
Who is Erdogan's opposition?
In the presidential election next month, Erdogan will be up against the main opposition alliance candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu.
In the latest survey from pollster Metropoll, 42.6% of respondents said they would vote for Kilicdaroglu and 41.1% for Erdogan in the first round voting, with the other two presidential candidates receiving 7.2% support.
Voters will also elect parliamentarians.