Unofficial results of Turkish presidential elections creates split amid counting


ANKARA, Turkey (AP) Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency provisional unofficial results show incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan leads with 76% of the votes counted, while rival news outlets are the opposition candidates in the presidential runoff. indicated that it gave a slight advantage. It is an election that will determine whether the country’s longtime leader will extend his increasingly authoritarian rule for 30 years.

Anadolu gave Erdogan 54% and challenger Kemal Kirikdaroglu 46%.

The pro-opposition news agency ANKA, on the other hand, said 75% of the ballot boxes were counted, with 51% for Kirikdaroglu and 49% for Erdogan.

The results could have implications far beyond Ankara. Turkey sits at the crossroads of Europe and Asia and plays an important role in NATO. Erdogan’s government has vetoed Sweden’s NATO membership and purchased Russian missile defense systems, prompting the US to exclude Turkey from US-led fighter jet projects. But it also helped broker important deals that enabled Ukrainian grain shipments and averted a global food crisis.

The May 14 election was also reported to have had mixed initial results. Competing news outlets derive their data from ballot box fillings collected by field staff, showing a strong presence in different regions, which explains some of the differences in the preliminary data. .

Anadolu’s figures were challenged in the first round of voting on May 14, with opposition politicians claiming news agencies were biased in Erdogan’s favor. Anadolu denied the accusations and the final results showed no discrepancies. Erdoğan was more than four percent ahead of Kirikdaroglu, but narrowly missed out on the overall title and advanced to Sunday’s second round.

Turkey’s Electoral Commission sends its own data to political parties throughout the counting period, but the official results will be announced in a few days.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has led Turkey for 20 years, has been nominated for a new five-year term in the second round after narrowly missing out on the first round on May 14. 

The two candidates presented very different ideas about the country’s future and recent past. “This election was held under very difficult circumstances and there was all sorts of slander,” 74-year-old Kirikda Rogul (pronounced Keerich Dahar Olu) told reporters after the vote. “But I believe in common sense. Democracy will come, freedom will come, people will be able to walk the streets and criticize politicians freely.”

Erdogan told reporters after the vote at a school in Istanbul that it was the first presidential run-off in Turkey’s history. He also praised the high turnout in the first round and said turnout would be high again on Sunday. He voted at the same time as Kirikuda Rogulu when local television aired the rival vote on split screen. Critics have accused Erdogan’s unconventional economic policies of spiking inflation and sparking a cost-of-living crisis. Many also demonstrated the government’s slow response to the earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people in Turkey.

Pensioner Mustafa Yesir, 60, said he voted for “change” in the predominantly Kurdish Diyarbakir province, one of 11 areas affected by the February 6 earthquake. 

President Erdogan has won support from conservative voters by raising the profile of Islam in Turkey, a nation founded on secular principles, and increasing the country’s influence in world politics, which continues to undermine Erdogan.

If he wins, Erdogan, 69, could stay in power until 2028. A devout Muslim, he heads the conservative and religious Justice and Development Party (AKP). Erdogan narrowly won the 2017 referendum to abolish Turkey’s parliamentary system of government, transforming the presidency from a ceremonial one to a powerful one. He became the first directly elected president in 2014 and won the 2018 election, which marked the inauguration of executive president.

The first half of Erdogan’s presidency included reforms that would allow negotiations to start joining the European Union and economic growth that would lift many people out of poverty. But then, especially after the failed coup that Turkey claims was orchestrated by the US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, he repressed freedoms and the media, concentrating more power into his own hands. let me The priest denies his involvement.

Erdogan’s rival is a mild-mannered former civil servant who has been leader of the pro-secular Republican People’s Party (CHP) since 2010. Mr. Kilicdaroglu campaigned on promises to reverse President Erdogan’s democratic setbacks, return to more traditional politics, revive the economy and improve relations with the West.

In a desperate effort to appeal to nationalist voters in the runoff, Mr. Kilicdaroglu vowed to repatriate the refugees if elected, ruling out the possibility of peace talks with Kurdish militants. Kirikdaroglu’s defeat would add to Erdogan’s long list of election defeats and pressure him to step down as party leader.

Erdogan’s AKP party and its allies maintained a parliamentary majority after the general elections, also held on May 14.

Erdogan’s party dominated the earthquake region, winning 10 of the 11 states that traditionally supported the president. In eight of those states, Erdogan won the first round of presidential elections.

Sunday also marks the 10th anniversary of the start of large-scale anti-government protests over plans to uproot trees in Istanbul’s Gezi Park, one of the biggest challenges facing the Erdogan government. Erdoğan’s response to the protests, in which eight people were convicted of their alleged involvement, heralded a crackdown on civil society and freedom of expression.

After the May 14 vote, international observers pointed to the spread of false information and the criminalization of online censorship as evidence of Erdogan’s “unfair advantage”. He also said the high voter turnout showed the resilience of Turkey’s democracy.

Erdogan and the pro-government media have portrayed Mr. Kilicdaroglu, who has drawn support from the country’s pro-Kurdish political parties, as working with “terrorists” who support “deviant” LGBTQ rights.

At his recent election rally, Erdogan referred to the Iraqi mountains, where the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leadership is based, and repeated that Kirikda Rogul “has been ordered by Qandil.” 

The elections were held during the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the republic after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.