OAN’s Roy Francis
2:17 PM – Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Turkey will hold a runoff election on May 18th as the current Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, faced his strongest challenger in 20 years.
Ahmet Yener, the head of the High Election Board released a statement on Monday saying that Erdogan had won 49.51% of the votes, while the opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu won 44.9%. Both had failed to reach the required 50% in order to win outright on Sunday in an election that was watched closely by countries across the world.
Turkey’s presidential race was focused on economic issues, civil rights, and the earthquake that had hit the region in February, which killed over 50,000 people.
Since the earthquake struck, 69-year-old Erdogan had trailed in the country’s polls because of his handling of the tragedy, and the outdated and lax building codes that had been implemented under his administration.
However, Erdogan increased wages and pensions in the country, as well as reducing electricity and gas bills in order to draw in more voters. He has also said that the opposing party has “colluded with terrorists,” and said that the views that they hold on LGBTQ rights are a threat to traditional family values.
Meanwhile, Kilicdaroglu focused his message on promising to repair the economy of the country which has experienced high inflation and currency devaluation. Kilicdaroglu has also pledged to return the country’s governing system to a parliamentary democracy if his party were to win both the presidential and parliamentary races.
The elections in Turkey included of 64 million eligible voters, which included over three million overseas voters.
However, both sides have accused the Anadolu News Agency of distorting the figures in favor of the opposition. Members of Kilicdaroglu’s social democratic Republican People’s Party (CHP) said that the state-run agency was biased in favor of Erdogan.
Meanwhile the Justice and Development party (AK), which Erdogan leads, accused their opposition of being “irresponsible” for attempting to “assassinate the nation will” by accusing the state news agency of distorting the figures.
According to experts, the results of the election will have great ramification in the area surrounding Turkey which has remained a close relationship with Russia despite being a NATO member, and has also blocked Sweden’s request to join the alliance.
Turkey currently holds the second largest military in NATO, with the United States being the largest, it also controls the Bosporus Strait, which runs through Istanbul and forms a boundary line between Asia and Europe.
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