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Turkey set for runoff election as Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu fall short


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Middle East Eye

Ultranationalist Sinan Ogan takes five percent of the vote to force a second round, while the AKP and MHP retain their majority in parliament

Ragip Soylu, Yusuf Selman Inanc, Elis Gjevori
14 May 2023 23:22 BST

Ankara/Istanbul, Turkey - Turkey is set for a runoff presidential election on 28 May after neither President Recep Tayyip Erdogan nor his challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu won more than half of votes on Sunday.

Voters also cast their ballots for parliament, with Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and allied Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on course to retain their majority.

Erdogan was facing the most difficult electoral challenge in years, with Kilicdaroglu, who led an alliance of opposition parties, neck and neck with the president in the polls ahead of the vote.

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Turnouts are traditionally high in Turkish elections, and this year’s is believed to have been particularly large.

Big cities like Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Antalya were key battlegrounds. In Istanbul, long queues of voters snaked out of polling stations from the early hours.

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With Ogan’s nationalist vote now set to be courted over the next fortnight, there are fears Turkey’s anti-Syrian rhetoric could ramp up.

The presence of 3.7 million Syrian refugees has become a sore point among voters, spurring Kilicdaroglu to promise rapid repatriations and Erdogan to begin normalising relations with longtime foe Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Around 220,000 Syrians who have obtained Turkish citizenship voted on Sunday.

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