The Turkish presidential election will go to a second round since Erdogan came so close to winning the first round.

The Turkish presidential election will go to a second round since Erdogan came so close to winning the first round.

The Turkish presidential election will go to a second round since Erdogan came so close to winning the first round. In two weeks, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the conservative incumbent president of Turkey, will face off against his primary opponent in a runoff that will determine who will lead a country dealing with skyrocketing inflation, sheltering refugees from Syria, and playing a vital role in the Middle East and NATO expansion.

On Monday, election officials declared that on May 28, Turks would have the opportunity to vote on whether to continue living under the increasingly authoritarian presidency of Recep Tayyip Erdogan or to take the more democratic path proposed by Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

Some voters said the results demonstrated the increasingly divisive nature of public opinion in Turkey.

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“I am unhappy at all,” dissatisfied voter Suzan Devletsah stated. I’m concerned about Turkey’s future.

A rising cost of living and criticism of the government’s response to the deadly February earthquake were two factors working against Erdogan at the polls.

The nationalists’ withdrawal was still not as severe as was feared. However, his alliance’s continued parliamentary dominance puts him in a strong position for the runoff.

Erdogan supporter Engin Duran predicted that Erdogan would win on May 28 if Tayyip Erdogan lived up to expectations.

Erdogan ran a controversial campaign, as he has in past years.

Kilicdaroglu, who had the support of the pro-Kurdish party in the country, was characterized as working with “terrorists” and as advocating for “deviant” LGBTQ rights. He raised wages and pensions, and subsidized utilities like electricity and gas. He highlighted Turkey’s homegrown military industry and infrastructure projects to win over people stung by inflation.

Kilicdaroglu ran on a platform that included repairing an economy ravaged by high inflation and currency devaluation, reversing crackdowns on free expression, and other types of democratic backsliding.

However, as the numbers came in, it became clear that those factors had caused less of a stir among voters than had been hoped. Kilicdaroglu’s primary opposition lost most coastal provinces in the west and south but won big in Turkey’s conservative core. The pro-Kurdish Green Left Party, YSP, defeated the primarily Kurdish regions in the southeast.

As a result of the unpredictability, trading on Turkey’s primary stock exchange, the BIST-100 was temporarily halted on Monday morning after opening more than 6% lower. Although the stock market saw a brief recovery period during the day, the index closed at its low point.

Erdogan’s unconventional economic leadership and often erratic but ultimately successful efforts to position the country at the center of many critical diplomatic conversations made it particularly interesting to Western nations and foreign investors.

According to Ahmet Yener, the president of the Supreme Electoral Board, preliminary results showed that Erdogan got 49.5% of the vote on Sunday. In comparison, Kilicdaroglu secured 44.9%, and the third contender, Sinan Ogan, received 5.2%. Yener claimed that even if all the remaining votes went to Erdogan, it would not be enough to give him an outright victory. Erdogan won the 2018 Turkish presidential election with more than 52% of the vote in the first round.

Erdogan, who has led Turkey as prime minister or president since 2003, declared victory for himself and his country after Sunday’s election, even though a runoff was looking increasingly possible.

Erdogan, 69, addressed supporters early on Monday that the fact that election results are still being tallied does not affect the reality that the public has chosen them.

He pledged to honor the will of the people.

Do not give up hope… Together we will rise and win this election.

Despite losing every presidential and legislative election since Kilicdaroglu, 74, gained control in 2010, his party saw a surge in support this time.

Ogan, the conservative contender, has not said whom he will support in a runoff. Nationalist voters who wanted a change after two decades with Erdogan but were skeptical of the Kilicdaroglu-led six-party alliance are thought to have voted for him.

According to preliminary results, the alliance led by Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party appeared to maintain its majority in the 600-seat parliament. However, the assembly has lost much of its power since a referendum that gave the presidency additional legislative powers narrowly passed in 2017.

Early results show that Erdogan’s AKP and its allies gained 321 seats in the National Assembly, while the opposition got 213 seats, and the remaining 66 seats went to a pro-Kurdish alliance.

According to Howard Eissenstat, an associate professor of Middle Eastern history and politics at St. Lawrence University in New York, those outcomes would undoubtedly give Erdogan an advantage in a potential runoff, as people would not want a “divided government.”

State-run Anadolu Agency stated that Erdogan’s party had a resounding victory in the earthquake-ravaged region, taking 10 of the 11 provinces. Even though his government was criticized for being slow to react to the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that killed over 50,000 people.

In Turkey, about 89% of eligible voters cast a ballot, with over 50% of voters participating abroad. Despite the government’s suppression of freedom of expression and assembly over the years, and notably following a coup in 2016, voter turnout in Turkey remains generally high.

Erdogan blamed supporters of cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former ally, for the failed coup and began a widespread crackdown on government employees with suspected ties to Gulen and arresting activists, journalists, and pro-Kurdish politicians.

Democracy in Turkey has proven remarkably robust. Frank Schwabe, who led a group from the Council of Europe to watch the elections, said, “This election had a high turnout and offered a real choice.” However, he noted that the country did not meet “the basic principles for holding a democratic election.”

Special Co-ordinator and head of the OSCE observer mission observing the election, Michael Georg Link, reported that competition was high but low turnout.

“The criminalization of some political forces, including the detention of several opposition politicians, prevented full political pluralism and impeded individuals’ rights to run in the elections,” he said.

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