Turkey hangs in the balance after 20 years of Erdogan in power. In the first round of presidential elections which took place in the country on Sunday 14 May, the incumbent president did not get the 50% of votes needed to be elected and will therefore go to a runoff on 28 May, with challenger Kemal Kiliçdaroglu speaking of “a farce”. Erdogan collected 49.24% of the votes while Kiliçdaroglu 45.06%.
Erdogan: “I will respect the ballot”
During the night Erdogan said he was “clearly in the lead” in the presidential elections, but acknowledged he would “respect” the outcome of a second round. “Although the results have not yet been released, we are clearly in the lead,” he told a flood of supporters gathered in the middle of the night in Ankara. “We respect this election and we will respect the next one.”
Kiliçdaroglu: “We will win the ballot”
“We will absolutely win the runoff,” said Kiliçdaroglu in the middle of the night in Ankara, surrounded by representatives of the six parties of his coalition. The outgoing president “Erdogan failed to get the result he expected despite all the insults” pronounced against his opponent, continued the opposition candidate. “The need for change in society is over 50%. We absolutely must win and establish democracy in this country.”
The gap between the two gradually narrowed as the hours went by. The first data in the afternoon with the polls closed indicated Erdogan over 58% of the preferences, but the accusation of the opposition is that the votes of the traditional strongholds of the president were counted and transmitted first. Sinan Ogan, candidate of a coalition of small far-right parties, was however relegated to just over 5% of the votes after an electoral campaign entirely based on the attack of Syrian migrants who arrived in Turkey after the beginning of the civil conflict in the country. about 4 million people. Kiliçdaroglu, leader of the secular center-left CHP party, triumphed in much of the Kurdish-majority south-east of the country, but Erdogan confirmed himself in the countryside and in his central fiefdoms. Despite the disadvantage, the opposition has repeatedly claimed to be in the lead, expressing heavy criticism of the Anadolu agency, which has already ended up at the center of scandals in past electoral appointments and accused several times of not disclosing data when they were unfavorable for the “Sultan”. In the meantime, the incumbent president can already look with certainty at a good result at the parliamentary level, where his coalition comes first with more than 50% of the votes, a figure that would allow it to have a majority in the assembly.
What is certain is that the Turks went en masse to vote with a turnout that came close to 90% of those entitled. According to the Supreme Electoral Council of Ankara, the voting operations were carried out without irregularities. Very long lines were seen at the polling stations in all the cities, between Erdogan’s supporters convinced of renewing their trust in the “Sultan” and opponents for whom the vote represented “a matter of life and death”. According to them, a confirmation from Erdogan would forever put an end to the independence of the judiciary, deal a lethal blow to human rights and bring Turkey to the brink of the abyss from an economic point of view. “I hope that tonight there will be benefits for Turkish democracy”, said the president after voting in the Uskudar district, on the Asian side of Istanbul. After going to the polls, where he presented himself with his wife Emine distributing cash to children, the Turkish president left for Ankara to follow the counting. “Everyone missed democracy. We missed being together, we missed hugging each other. You will see, spring will return to this country if God wills and it will last forever”, were the words of Kiliçdaroglu who voted in the capital.