Turkey Election News: Erdogan, Kilicdaroglu face off again

The outcome of Turkey’s key election remained uncertain on Monday, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisting he would claim an outright victory, while opposition figures accused the ruling party of slowing the count to hide the size of their vote.

Polls by a state-run news agency early Monday suggested Erdogan was leading his main rival, former bureaucrat Kemal Kilikdaroglu, by a narrow margin.

A presidential runoff between the two would take place on May 28 if the results are confirmed by Turkey’s Supreme Election Board.

Erdoğan is ahead in the number of votes contested in Turkey’s election

The referendum marks the toughest electoral challenge for Erdogan, who has been at the top of Turkish politics for two decades, and is a referendum on the strongman’s rule.

Ahead of election day, opposition supporters accused the Turkish president of using state resources in his favor, tripling the minimum wage and relying on speeches by Kilicdaroglu. His kitchen table through social media to hear his voice.

Addressing supporters from the balcony of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara early Monday, Erdogan said he thought his campaign had won, but he was ready to accept a runoff.

He said that we are confident that we will win the election in the first round.

Kilicdaroglu, 74, said his campaign would contest the second round, but asked supporters to stay at the polls until every vote was counted. “Despite all his lies and attacks, Erdogan did not get the result he wanted,” he said. “The election was not won on the balcony.”

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He also accused AKP officials of trying to block the counting process, saying the results of hundreds of ballot boxes in Ankara and Istanbul were being challenged. “There are ballot boxes contested six times, 11 times,” he said.

In a short statement late Sunday, the head of Turkey’s Supreme Election Council, Ahmet Yener, insisted that was not the case.

Why Turkey’s Upcoming Elections Are So Important to the World

Erdogan, 69, who first rose to national prominence as mayor of the country’s most populous city, Istanbul, is modern Turkey’s most successful politician. The deeply polarizing figure, who has ruled for two decades, has been accused by critics of diluting democracy by using repressive tactics against civil society and the media while amassing power as president. Supporters say he modernized the country with massive infrastructure projects and brought Islam back into public life in Turkey.

The devastating earthquakes that killed more than 50,000 people in southern Turkey in February have cast a shadow over the election. Erdoğan’s government has been accused of slow enforcement of building codes and slow disaster response, worsening the effects of the earthquakes.

Kilicdaroglu, by contrast, presented himself as a man during the campaign, promising to tackle fiscal problems – Erdogan’s unorthodox economic policies helped fuel inflation – and strengthen democratic norms.

As the war in Ukraine drags into a second year, the election has the potential to rebuild geopolitical alliances as Arab countries normalize ties with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government after a civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. His forces.

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Under Erdogan, Turkey, a NATO member, has balanced relations between the West and Russia, at times acting as a diplomatic intermediary for the Black Sea grain deal and the freezing of conflict lines in Syria, straining relations with the US and the EU.

On the final day of the campaign, Erdogan accused the US of trying to interfere in the election. The ballot boxes, he predicted, “will give Biden an answer.”

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