In Turkey’s closely watched presidential election, it appears that a runoff vote is on the horizon as preliminary results indicate that neither President Recep Tayyip Erdogan nor his main opponent, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, have obtained the required majority of votes for an outright victory.
According to projections based on 97.95% of the votes counted, Erdogan secured 49.34% of the votes, while Kilicdaroglu received 44.99%, as reported by the state-run Anadolu news agency.
Here are the latest developments:
- Erdogan’s Perspective: Speaking at the headquarters of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party in Ankara, President Erdogan expressed confidence in his lead. He stated, “We believe we will surpass the 50% mark in this round of voting.” Erdogan, who faces significant challenges after two decades in power, confronts economic headwinds and criticism regarding the handling of the devastating Feb. 6 earthquake, which was allegedly worsened by inadequate building controls and a disorganized rescue effort.
- Kilicdaroglu’s Response: The main opposition leader, Kilicdaroglu, welcomed the possibility of a runoff vote, stating in a televised speech at his party’s headquarters, “If our nation calls for a second round, we gladly accept it.” He further expressed confidence in winning the election during the second round, emphasizing that everyone would witness their victory. Kilicdaroglu previously accused Erdogan’s AK Party of seeking recounts and delaying results in opposition strongholds, including Ankara and Istanbul.
- Potential Kingmaker: Sinan Ogan, an ultra-nationalist candidate aligned with Erdogan, who secured around 5% of the preliminary vote, raised concerns on Twitter about overseas votes and urged the election council to prevent any “manipulation.” Ogan, viewed as a potential kingmaker in a runoff scenario, highlighted the likelihood of a second vote and emphasized the crucial role of Turkish nationalists and Ataturkists in determining the election’s outcome.
- Opposition’s Claims: Earlier on Sunday, Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavas, vice-presidential candidate for the main opposition Nation Alliance bloc, disputed Anadolu’s reported results, questioning the agency’s reliability. Yavas cited the opposition’s data, which allegedly placed Kilicdaroglu ahead of Erdogan.
- What Comes Next: The counting of ballots continues as the votes of the 64 million eligible voters are tallied, even after polling stations closed nationwide. To secure the presidency, a candidate must achieve over 50% of the vote. Otherwise, a runoff election will take place on May 28, allowing the Turkish people to decide between the top two contenders.
As Turkey awaits the final results, the country’s political landscape remains in flux, with the potential for a closely contested runoff election that will shape its future leadership. Stay informed to witness how this fiercely fought election unfolds in the coming days.
By: Karoline Mikkel