Supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the AK Party (AKP) took to the streets in a jubilant demonstration after exit polls were released at the AK Party headquarters in Ankara, Turkey.
However, Turkey’s opposition leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, said he was leading against President Tayyip Erdogan.
The mayor of Istanbul, who is a member of the opposition, cited manipulation in the reporting of partial results in previous elections. Ekrem Imamoglu said on television that no one should take into account the early results reported by the state-run Anadolu Agency.
Partial Anadolu results broadcast by Turkish media showed President Tayyip Erdogan leading with 52.55 percent of the vote to Kilicdaroglu’s 41.55 percent, although the gap narrowed as the vote count continued.
“We can say this comfortably: Mr. Kilicdaroglu will be announced today as the 13th president of our country,” Imamoglu said in a press conference.
The broadcaster TRT Haber gave the results from Anadalou based on the counting of 41.83% of the votes.
The initial results were expected to favor Erdogan, as many of the first counts typically come from his conservative, rural constituency.
Sunday’s vote is one of the most important elections in the country’s 100-year history, a contest that could end Erdogan’s 20-year imperious reign and that could have reverberations far beyond Turkey’s borders.
Pre-election opinion polls had given Kilicdaroglu, who leads a six-party alliance, a slight lead, and two polls on Friday showed him above the 50 percent threshold needed to win a landslide. If none of the two get more than 50% of the votes, a second round of voting will take place on May 28.
The presidential vote will decide not only who leads Turkey, a NATO member country of 85 million people, but also how it is governed, where its economy is headed amid a deep cost-of-living crisis, and the shape of its foreign policy.
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