Voting for Turkey’s presidential election has ended President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Fighting for a historic third term.
Erdogan goes head-to-head with opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu74-year-old bureaucrat and leader of the left-leaning CHP.
In the first round of voting on May 14, Erdogan led by nearly five points Above Kilicdaroglu but falling short of the 50% threshold needed to win.
The president’s parliamentary constituency won the majority of seats in the parliamentary contest held that day.
Erdogan cast his vote at a polling center in Istanbul on Sunday. “This is the first time in the history of Turkish democracy,” he said.
“Turkey, with almost 90% participation in the last round, showed its democratic struggle beautifully and I hope it will do the same today,” he added.
Registering his vote in Ankara, Kıltaroğlu told reporters: “I call on all citizens to go to the polls and stand at the polls to get rid of oppression, to get rid of this authoritarian leadership, to bring true democracy and freedom. After.
“Because [the] The election was conducted under hardships, all kinds of black propaganda and slander were used, but I believe in the common sense of the people.
Election officials said polling was going on “without any problems” and results should be out sooner than in the first round.
last week, Third place candidate is Sinon OganThe winner of 5% of the first-round vote has publicly backed Erdogan, further boosting the strongman’s chances of winning Sunday’s second and final presidential round.
Several opinion polls had incorrectly predicted that Kilicdaroglu would lead in the May 14 vote, which saw a nearly 90% majority nationwide.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, and his wife, Emin Erdogan, cast their votes in Istanbul.
Opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu casts his vote at a polling station in Ankara.
Six opposition groups have formed an unprecedented coalition behind Kilikdaroglu to try to wrest power from Erdogan.
Opposition parties have described the election as the last stand for Turkish democracy, accusing Erdogan of hollowing out the country’s democratic institutions, eroding the power of the judiciary and suppressing dissent during his 20-year rule.
Erdogan also faces headwinds from a faltering economy A traumatic initial response to a catastrophic earthquake On February 6, Turkey and neighboring Syria claimed more than 50,000 lives.
The government admitted its “mistakes” in its rescue operation and apologized to the public.
Erdogan’s critics point to lax construction standards under the leadership of the ruling AK Party, which has fueled a turbocharged construction boom since the early 2000s and high death tolls. They also argued that the earthquake response underscored Erdogan’s alleged withdrawal from state institutions in an effort to consolidate power.
The country’s financial crisis – which has seen the currency fall and prices rise – has also been partly blamed on Erdogan’s policies. The president suppressed interest rates by leaving inflation unchecked, critics argued.
Economic concerns and the aftermath of the deadly earthquake are among the concerns of voters.
Erdogan won the first round, but lost by the margin needed to avoid a runoff.
But election results on May 14 showed continued support for the president in his conservative strongholds, including the devastated earthquake zone.
A Interview with CNN’s Becky Anderson Last week, Erdogan promised to double down on his unconventional economic policies.
He hailed his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin as “special” and said he would continue to block Sweden’s access to NATO despite Western criticism that he was standing in the way of a united front against Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
Erdogan, who controls the second-largest army in NATO, has accused Sweden of being a haven for Kurdish terror groups and has made it a precondition for Stockholm to join in handing over wanted people. Sweden has refused Turkey’s repeated demands to extradite what Ankara describes as terrorists, arguing that only Swedish courts can decide the issue.
Since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the Turkish strongman has emerged as a major power, adopting an important balancing act between the two sides, widely known as “pro-Ukrainian neutrality.”
He helped broker a major deal Black Sea Grain Corridor Initiative It unlocked millions of tons of wheat trapped in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, averting a global hunger crisis. The contract was extended for another two months last Wednesday, a day before it was due to expire.