Elections in Turkey The elections in the country conclude what

Turkish elections: First results show Erdogan’s lead

1 of 3 Montage shows Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Kemal Kilicdaroglu at campaign events in Turkey in May 2023 Photo: Portal Montage shows Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Kemal Kilicdaroglu at campaign events in Turkey in May 2023 Photo: Portal

The first election results in Turkey point to an advantage for the current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The results are incomplete so far around 9.1% of the ballot boxes have been counted.

According to the broadcaster Habertürk from this Sunday (14), the partial situation of the two main candidates is as follows:

  • Recep Tayyip Erdogan: 59.47%
  • Kemal Kilicdaroğlu: 34.79%

It was previously expected that the first results would be released around 3pm Brazilian time. But about two hours earlier, the country’s Supreme Electoral Council lifted that ban and the first results were announced.

According to Portal, these initial results were already expected to be positive for Erdogan. as many of the first censuses are usually from rural and more conservative areas of the country.

Erdogan, leader of the religious conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP), first came to power as prime minister in 2003. In 2017, he led the political regime’s shift from parliamentarism to presidentialism after winning an attempted coup in 2016. Since then he has won every presidential election.

In 2023, however, polls point to a close election opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu has a slight lead in the first ballot, but the result is likely to be decided in the second ballot on May 28

Erdogan, Turkey’s longestserving head of state, has never come so close to losing office

With a tired expression on his face, the reelection candidate went to his polling station in Üskudar, a conservative district of Istanbul, to vote. He wished “a prosperous future for the country and Turkish democracy”.

Erdogan, who declined to forecast the outcome, stressed the “enthusiasm of voters,” especially in the areas hardest hit by the February 6 earthquake that killed at least 50,000 people.

Opposition candidate Kemal Kiliçdaroglu previously voted in Ankara.

The most powerful opponent Erdogan has ever faced

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, 74, the leader of the opposition, is a secular centreleft politician. He belongs to the People’s Republican Party, but leads a sixparty coalition trying to defeat the incumbent president.

The political alliance running for the opposition includes both Islamists and nationalists. He also won the support of the Kurdish party, which has around 10% of the vote.

The promises include the demobilization of the presidential system introduced by Erdogan to parliamentarianism.

2 of 3 Kemal Kilicdaroglu, 74, the leader of the Turkish opposition, votes at a polling station in Ankara on Sunday (14). — Photo: AP Photo Kemal Kilicdaroglu, 74, the leader of the opposition in Turkey, votes at a polling station in Ankara this Sunday (14). — Photo: AP Photo

Why Erdogan was losing strength

Türkiye’s economy is in trouble. High inflation one of the highest in the world, exceeding 80% in 2022 has eroded families’ purchasing power.

In addition, Erdogan’s government has been criticized for its response to the earthquake in southern Turkey that killed 50,000 people in early 2023. The government was accused of having approved buildings that were not designed to be earthquakeproof.

The current election campaign builds on past achievements, presenting itself as the only politician capable of rebuilding life after the February 6 earthquake in southern Turkey that destroyed cities and killed more than 50,000 people.

During his campaign rallies, Erdogan has attempted to portray the opposition as cooperating with “terrorists” and foreign powers intent on harming Turkey. He also accused the opposition of supporting LGBTQ rights and being drunk to solidify his conservative base.

In addition, before the elections, the Turkish President increased public spending and increased the values ​​​​of the minimum wage and pensions.

3 out of 3 tractors clear debris from buildings collapsed by earthquake in Antakya, Turkey Photo: Thaier AlSudani/Portal

foreign policy

Turkey’s elections also promise implications for the country’s foreign policy a topic that has been in the spotlight for several months.

Erdogan is a former ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the way he is acting (or not acting) in the face of the war in Ukraine has not pleased his North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) colleagues, for the group is on Ukrainian side.

However, should Kilicdaroglu emerge victorious, that scenario could change. The candidate has stated more than once that he is interested in strengthening Turkey’s relations with NATO and even thinks that the country should apply for a place in the European Union.

As for the Russian war in Ukraine, Kilicdaroglu confirmed that if elected he would sanction Russia, something Erdogan has done little to date. This would further isolate Moscow on the international stage and could have significant repercussions, experts say.