After a dramatic night, Turkey is preparing for a historic second round of presidential elections

Appearing before a sea of ​​supporters shortly after midnight, Erdogan looked triumphant. He announced that he was ready to lead the country for another five years.

Almost complete results from Turkey’s most important election since the Ottoman era showed the politician, who has been in power since 2003 and won more than a dozen national votes, narrowly missing 50 percent. threshold of votes needed for victory.

“I sincerely believe that we will continue to serve our people in the next five years,” the 69-year-old leader told the crowd.

He also claimed that his Islamist ruling party and its ultra-nationalist allies had won a clear majority in parliament.

According to the state news agency Anadolu, RTErdogan received 49.3 percent of the vote. of votes.

Opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu trailed with 45 percent. of votes. It was a disappointing result after late pre-election polls showed him in the lead.

The first runoff of Turkey’s presidential election in the 100-year history of the predominantly Muslim but officially secular country will take place on May 28.

K. Kilicdaroglu’s camp initially disputed the vote count and claimed to be in the lead.

But the 74-year-old appeared slightly upset when he met with reporters early on Monday and admitted a run-off seemed imminent.

“If our nation says we need a second round, we will definitely win in the second round,” he said. – The desire for change in society is greater than 50 percent.”

Reuters/Scanpix/Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Reuters/Scanpix/Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

The lira fell against the dollar and the euro due to investors’ frustration that the era of RT Erdogan’s unorthodox economy may not be over.

The importance of elections

Voter turnout in the vote, which became a referendum on modern Turkey’s longest-ruling leader and his Islamic-rooted party, reportedly reached nearly 90 percent.

RT Erdogan 85 million led the populous country through one of its most transformative and socially divisive periods.

During his time, Turkey became a powerful military and geopolitical power, playing an important role in various conflicts from Syria to Ukraine.

Due to the influence of this NATO member in both Europe and the Middle East, the election results are as important to Washington and Brussels as they are to Damascus and Moscow.

There is no shortage of support for the long-serving leader in conservative Turkey, which has seen an expansionist boom under Erdogan.

More religious voters are also grateful for his decision to lift secular-era restrictions on headscarves and open more Islamic schools.

“The most important thing is that we don’t divide Turkey,” Istanbul voter Recep Turktan told AFP after casting his vote.

“We will do our duty. I say let’s go ahead with Erdogan,” the 67-year-old added.

“We all miss democracy”

However, Erdogan’s first decade in power, during which the country’s economy recovered and relations with Europe warmed, was followed by a second decade full of social and political unrest.

After a failed coup attempt in 2016, he launched a heavy-handed response that has gripped Turkish society and caused increasing discomfort to Western partners.

The rise of Kilicdaroglu and his six-party opposition alliance provides foreign allies and Turkish voters with a clear alternative.

Before the second round of the election in two weeks, RT Erdogan would have time to regroup and change the direction of the debate. But he would still be haunted by Turkey’s worst economic crisis since the last decade of the last century.

Many are also still haunted by the anxiety caused by the government’s sluggish response to the February earthquake that killed more than 50,000.

“We all miss democracy,” Kilicdaroglu said after the vote in the capital, Ankara.

Polls conducted before the election predicted his victory among the youth – almost 10 percent. of the electorate – in the ranks in a ratio of two to one.

RT Erdogan “can build as many tanks and weapons as he wants, but I don’t respect it until I have a penny in my pocket,” said university student Kivanc Dal.

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