One of the most significant elections in Turkey’s 100-year history is now over, with results that might end President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s 20 years in power and have repercussions far beyond the country’s boundaries.
At 5 p.m. local time (14:00 GMT), polling places for the elections—in which voters have been casting ballots for both the president and the parliament—closed.
Due to high participation, long lineups have been present at polling places around Turkey, especially in the country’s largest cities.
The Istanbul Bar Association has warned people that if they are in line at a polling place before 5 o’clock, they may stay and cast their ballots, but anyone who joins the line afterward will not be permitted to do so.
Even though it has previously been moved up, Turkish law prohibits the reporting of any results before 9 pm (18:00 GMT). There may be a clear indicator by Sunday night as to whether a runoff is necessary.
Two surveys released on Friday showed Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of a six-party coalition and Erdogan’s primary rival, a slight advantage over the candidate who must receive 50% of the vote to win outright.
May 28 will see a runoff if no contender gets more than 50% of the vote on Sunday.
The presidential election will determine not only who will lead the 85 million-person NATO member nation of Turkey, but also how it will be governed, where its economy will go amid a severe crisis in the cost of living and the direction of its foreign policy.
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In the post-Ottoman state’s 100-year history, Erdogan has led the country through one of its most dramatic and polarizing periods.
Turkey has developed into a geopolitical and military powerhouse that participates in crises ranging from Syria to Ukraine.
The outcome of the election will be just as important for Washington and Brussels as it will be for Moscow and Damascus because of its influence in both Europe and the region of the Middle East.
After Sunday’s presidential and parliamentary elections, Turkey may enter a post-Erdogan era, which could result in changes to the country’s foreign policy.
Erdogan is still revered in parts of Turkey with a development boom under his leadership.
Voters who identify as religious appreciate that he removed limitations on religious clothing and practices that had been in place since the secular era.
An alternative to Erdogan has emerged in the form of Kemal Kilicdaroglu and his six-party alliance, representing the kind of broad-based coalition that Erdogan has excelled at forming throughout his career.
According to polls, Kilicdaroglu, a 74-year-old leader of the secular opposition, will surpass the required winning percentage of 50% in the first round.
BNO News has given the following tweet:
Polls close in Turkey’s presidential election; first results in a few hours
— BNO News (@BNONews) May 14, 2023
May 28 runoff could offer Erdogan time to refocus and recast the discussion.
But despite this, he would continue to be plagued by Turkey’s worst economic crisis during his term in office and unease over his administration’s bungled reaction to the February earthquakes that lost more than 50,000 lives.
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