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Turkish election on knife-edge – with the president of 20 years trying to keep his grip on power

Turkey’s elections are heading to a runoff as it appears likely that the two main candidates won’t clear the 50% threshold required to avoid a second-round.

According to the state-owned Anadolu news agency, Tayyip Tayyip Erdoanis leading with 49.39% and Kemal Kilicdaroglu is second with 44.92%.

The High Election Board of Turkey gave Mr Erdogan 49.49%, with 91.93% ballots counted.

In a speech to his supporters in Ankara on May 28, Mr Erdogan stated that he was confident of winning the race, but he would respect the decision of the nation if it went to a second round.


He said: “If the nation chooses to go on with the second round, that’s also welcome.”

“We think we’ll finish this round with more than 50% of the votes.”

“I want to stress it again: The fact that the results of the elections have not been finalised doesn’t change the fact our nation has clearly chosen us.

Turkey: More Information

“We are confident that we will continue serving our country for the next five-year period.”

Image Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Kemal Kilicdaroglu

Kilicdaroglu, his rival, thanked the voters for their participation. He emphasized that young people and women were particularly active.

He said: “Despite his slanders, Erdogan didn’t get the results he wanted.

“Nobody should be looking for a done deal. Balconies do not win elections.

The data are still coming in. We welcome a second round if our nation requests it.

“Our people should know that we are going to win absolutely and bring democracy to our country.”

Mr Erdogan, 69 years old, has been president of the country for over 20 years. But Mr Kilicdaroglu is his most difficult opponent yet.

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Before the election, opinion polls gave Mr Kilicdaroglu a slight advantage. Two polls conducted on Friday showed that he was even above the 50% threshold. Most polls had predicted a close race.

The Turkish voters also elected 600 members to the assembly.


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