Turkish citizens started voting this Sunday in second round of presidential electionsin which Recep Tayyip Erdoğanwho has ruled that country for two decades, seeks re-election against the Social Democrat Kemal Kilicdaroglu.
Queues have formed since the opening of the polling stations, a sign of a strong mobilization of over 60 million Turks eligible to vote. There has also been an increased presence of supervisors at polling stations.
Erdoğan got it 49.5% of votes on the 14th, with an advantage of four points over the 44.9% obtained by Kiliçdaroglu, who defined the second round as a referendum on the future of the country.
The latest polls say so Erdogan, who has obtained the support of the ultra-nationalist candidate Sinan Oganthird with 5% of the votes, will keep the same percentage difference in the second round.
The more than 192,000 polling stations will close at 17:00 (14:00 GMT), after having been open for nine hours. Election news may not be released until 18:00 local time (15:00 GMT) and the press is prohibited from reporting results until 21:00 local time (18:00 GMT), although the Electoral Commission may revoke this veto first.
If he wins, Erdogan, 69, could stay in power until 2028. After three terms as prime minister and two as president, the head of the conservative and religious Justice and Development party, or AKP, is already the longest-serving leader in power in Turkey.
The final decision could have implications far beyond Ankara, as Turkey sits at the crossroads of Europe and Asia and plays a key role in NATO.
Turkey has vetoed Sweden’s bid for the alliance and bought Russian missile defense systems, prompting the United States to cut that country out of a US-led fighter project. But Erdogan’s government also helped broker a crucial deal that allowed shipments of Ukrainian grain and averted a global food crisis.
In the Sisli suburb of Istanbul, Özer Atayolu, a 93-year-old retired engineer, was one of the first to arrive to vote. “I always vote early because I believe in democracy and my responsibility as a citizen,” he said.
In Ankara, the capital, Zerrin Alan, 55, said she was “so excited (that) I couldn’t sleep”. “I hope these elections are not rigged“, He added.
With information from agencies.
Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.