Turkey faces runoff election for president on May 28

turkey vote

ISTANBUL- Turkey appeared headed for a runoff presidential election after neither Tayyip Erdogan nor rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu cleared the threshold to win outright on Sunday, in a poll seen as a verdict on Erdogan’s 20-year rule and increasingly authoritarian path.

With almost 97% of ballot boxes counted, Erdogan led with 49.39% of votes and Kilicdaroglu had 44.92%, according to state-owned news agency Anadolu. Turkey’s High Election Board gave Erdogan 49.49% with 91.93% of ballot boxes counted.

Opinion polls before the election had pointed to a very tight race but gave Kilicdaroglu, who heads a six-party alliance, a slight lead. Two polls on Friday even showed him above the 50% threshold.

The presidential vote will decide not only who leads Turkey, a NATO-member country of 85 million, but also whether it reverts to a more secular, democratic path; how it will handle its severe cost of living crisis; and manage key relations with Russia, the Middle East and the West.

According to state-owned news agency Anadolu, with almost 91% of ballot boxes counted, Erdogan led with 49.86% and Kilicdaroglu had 44.38%.

The opposition suggested results were being published in an order that artificially boosted Erdogan’s tally.

A senior official from the opposition alliance said: “it seems there will be no winner in the first round. But, our data indicates Kilicdaroglu will lead.”

Another senior opposition official told Reuters that Erdogan’s party was raising objections against ballots, delaying full results. “So far they are doing everything in their power to delay the process,” he said.

In Ankara supporters of both sides celebrated.

A crowd outside the headquarters of Erdogan’s AK Party (AKP) held up posters of Erdogan as they sang songs and danced.

“I have been here since noon to celebrate our victory. This is our day,” said Davut, 25, raising Erdogan’s flag.

At the headquarters of Kilicdaroglu’s CHP party around a thousand people had gathered, waving flags of Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and playing drums.


The choice of Turkey’s next president is one of the most consequential political decisions in the country’s 100-year history and will reverberate well beyond Turkey’s borders.

A defeat for Erdogan, one of President Vladimir Putin’s most important allies, will likely unnerve the Kremlin but comfort the Biden administration, as well as many European and Middle Eastern leaders who had troubled relations with Erdogan.

Turkey’s longest-serving leader has turned the NATO member and Europe’s second largest country into a global player, modernized it through megaprojects such as new bridges, hospitals and airports, and built a military industry sought by foreign states.

But his volatile economic policy of low interest rates, which set off a spiralling cost of living crisis and inflation, left him prey to voters’ anger. His government’s slow response to a devastating earthquake in southeast Turkey that killed 50,000 people added to voters’ dismay.