President Erdogan is Leading as Turkey Braces For a Crucial Runoff Election:
On Monday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan emerged as the frontrunner in the presidential election results; however, he fell short of securing the necessary majority of 50% to win outright. Consequently, the presidential vote will proceed to a second round, commonly known as a runoff, scheduled for May 28. A runoff occurs when no candidate obtains more than half of the votes.
As President Erdogan strives to secure another term in office, his opponent, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, is anticipate to intensify his election campaign over the next two weeks. Despite a spirited campaign on Monday, Kilicdaroglu’s bid to defeat Erdogan proved unsuccessful. Addressing his supporters, Kilicdaroglu urged them not to lose hope and vowed to continue the election journey together.
In the initial results reported by AFP, Erdogan garnered 49.5% of the vote, Kilicdaroglu received 44.9%, and Sinan Ogan, another presidential candidate from the nationalist camp, secured 5.2%. The voter turnout reached a record high of 88.9%. Erdogan’s AK Party, along with its allied partners, poised to secure a majority in the new parliament with 321 out of 600 seats, thereby bolstering Erdogan’s prospects in the runoff.
Following the announcement of the results, Erdogan addressed his jubilant supporters at the AKP headquarters in Ankara, proclaiming, “Our country is undoubtedly the winner.”
Sinan Ogan, backed by 2.8 million voters, may emerge as a potential deal-maker for Kilicdaroglu, should the latter aim to defeat Erdogan. Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the center-left, pro-secular Republican People’s Party (CHP), expressed confidence in prevailing in the runoff while accusing Erdogan’s AK Party of electoral interference and tampering with the results.
Unlike the subdued atmosphere among Kilicdaroglu supporters, Erdogan’s backers were filled with exuberance as the results unfolded. Feyyaz Balcu, a 23-year-old cyber security engineer, expressed confidence in Erdogan’s ability to address Turkey’s economic challenges, including skyrocketing inflation and declining purchasing power.
The closely watched elections in Turkey are being closely monitor by European, American, and Russian observers, given Erdogan’s efforts to assert Turkish influence and forge stronger ties with Moscow, thereby straining Ankara’s traditional alliance with the United States. Erdogan has been a key ally of President Vladimir Putin, and his strong showing is likely to be welcome by the Kremlin but cause unease among the Joe Biden administration and leaders in Europe and the Middle East who have had strained relationships with Erdogan.
The Kremlin stated its expectation that cooperation between Russia and Turkey would continue and deepen, regardless of the election outcome.