Presidential and Parliament elections… a historic day in Türkiye

Turks have ended a hot day in the most important election in their country’s 100-year modern history, and it reverberates far beyond Turkey’s borders, as it will decide not only who leads Turkey – a NATO member with a population of 85 million – but also its style of governance. And the direction in which the economy will go amid a raging high price crisis, as well as the form of its foreign policy.

On a warm spring day, people were seen entering polling stations set up inside schools in most parts of the country, forming long lines outside the classrooms. As of last midnight, as the counting process had not yet finished at the moment of writing this report, two news outlets in Turkey gave different partial results on the presidential election, with the state-run news agency noting that three-quarters of the polls showed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would win. A victory, but the sources of both parties suggested that the race would head towards a run-off on May 28. The state-run Anadolu Agency said Erdogan’s votes fell below 50 percent after nearly 90 percent of ballot boxes were counted.

Is there a second round?

Preliminary results indicated that Erdogan won by a comfortable margin, but as the votes continued to be counted, his chances of winning in the first round declined. Both sides rejected the numbers announced by the other and the official result has not yet been announced. The opposition mayor of Ankara, Mansur Yavas, said that a census conducted by his party indicates that Kilicdaroglu is superior to Erdogan. “It seems that there will be no winner in the first round,” said a senior official from the opposition coalition, who asked not to be named. But our data indicates that Kilicdaroglu is in the lead.”

Erdogan said that rushing to announce the election results while the vote counting process is still underway means stealing the will of the people, while his rival Kamal Kılıçdaroğlu called on the electoral authorities to record all results nationwide.

Manipulate the results

Complicating the picture further, the opposition accused Anadolu Agency of tampering with the results, insisting that Kilicdaroglu was narrowly ahead. Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, who campaigned on Kilicdaroglu’s behalf, claimed that ruling party observers were “regularly objecting” to the ballot box results that put Kilicdaroglu ahead.

A spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development Party, Omar Celik, said that the main rival of his party, the Republican People’s Party, is taking a “dictatorial approach” to the election results. Earlier, Kilicdaroglu and his party colleague Ekrem Imamoglu spoke of a possible victory in the elections and put their camp firmly in the lead. He also called on Imamoglu not to believe the official figures issued by the official Anadolu News Agency at all.

Omer Celik, a spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), denied opposition allegations that the Anadolu news agency was manipulating the announcement of the results, and said the vote-counting process was taking place “transparently”.

600 deputies

In addition to choosing the president, the electors chose the representatives of the 600-seat parliament. And if his political alliance wins, Erdogan can continue to rule without many restrictions. The opposition has promised to return the Turkish system of government to a parliamentary system if it wins the presidential and parliamentary elections.

The number of eligible voters to cast their ballots is more than 64 million, including 3.4 million voters abroad. It comes in the year when the country will celebrate its centenary as a republic. The six-party nation alliance led by Kilicdaroglu has vowed to dismantle an executive presidential system that was narrowly voted on in a 2017 referendum and return the country to a parliamentary democracy. The coalition promised to establish the independence of the judiciary and the central bank.

Western countries, Middle Eastern countries, NATO and Moscow are watching the elections closely. The defeat of Erdogan, if it occurs, one of the most important allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin, may raise the concern of the Kremlin, but it will relieve the administration of US President Joe Biden, in addition to a number of leaders of European and Middle Eastern countries who have troubled relations with Erdogan.

For more details, read:

The Turkish elections are heading for a run-off between Erdogan and Oglu

The opposition’s “best chance”.

Cities settle results

The tallest woman in the world casts her vote

“Spiderman” and “Cowboy” at the polling stations

The Turkish opposition is likely to hold a run-off for the presidential elections

An electronic attack targeting a major Turkish newspaper on election night

Kilicdaroglu: No sleep tonight and the sorting process is stressful