A paper ballot includes portraits of the candidates in Turkey's upcoming presidential election, scheduled for June 24. Incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has a lot riding on the vote, which could make him the most powerful leader in Turkey's modern history.
(YASIN AKGUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Turkish voters are about to elect the most powerful leader in their country's modern history. They will head to the polls June 24, nearly a year and a half ahead of schedule, for the first time since passing a raft of constitutional amendments last year to expand the powers of the presidency. At the same time, they will cast their ballots for lawmakers to fill a newly enlarged parliament.
For incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- who, along with his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), engineered the constitutional revisions -- the stakes of the upcoming vote are high. If he wins, he will assume the virtually unchecked authority of the new executive presidency, which he could command for the next decade. If, on the other hand, Turkey's economic problems and the diverse field of opposition candidates in the race turn enough voters from Erdogan's side, one of his opponents could...