Calamos Supports Greece
GreekReporter.comGreek NewsPoliticsTurkey Faces a Runoff Vote After Most Closely Fought Election in Decades

Turkey Faces a Runoff Vote After Most Closely Fought Election in Decades

Turkey elections 2023
Opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (left) and incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (right), the protagonists of the general elections in Turkey. Credit: Hilmi Hacaloğlu / Public domain / Wikimedia Commons

Turkey is facing a runoff vote after neither President Recep Tayyip Erdogan nor his main rival appeared to have secured the 50% of votes needed to win the elections, preliminary election results showed.

State-run Anadolu news agency reported projections based on 97.95% of the votes counted, showing Erdogan having 49.34% of votes, compared to 44.99% for the main opposition candidate, Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

The third candidate, Sinan Ogan, received 5.28% of votes, according to Anadolu, raising the possibility he could be a kingmaker in a runoff.

Erdogan – who has held power since 2002- claimed to be ahead in the voting. “We believe we will finish this round with over 50% of the votes,” he said.

His main opponent welcomed the prospect of a runoff vote.

“If the nation wants the second round, then it is welcome by us,” Kilicdaroglu said during a televised speech at his party’s headquarters early Monday. “We will absolutely win this election in the second round. Everyone will see that.”

More than 64 million Turkish nationals were eligible to vote in the elections this year.

Comments and frustrations throughout election night

As the Turkish election process was underway, parties on either side intermittently announced that they were leading in the election. The opposition, in particular, was eager to maintain its observer presence at polling stations, concerned that the absence of observers may lead to misconduct. Meanwhile, both Erdoğan and Kılıçdaroğlu made comments alluding to the importance of valid and fair elections.

When the polls closed, Erdoğan appeared to direct a barb at the opposition, claiming that any efforts to announce election results while the counting was still in progress would amount to stealing the “people’s will”.

“While the election was held in such a positive and democratic atmosphere and the vote counting is still going on, trying to announce results hastily means usurping the national will,” Erdoğan posted on Twitter.

Kılıçdaroğlu likewise took to Twitter to pressure opposition officials to keep monitoring ballot boxes throughout the country. He also called on the Supreme Election Council to release the results from the major cities.

“We won’t sleep tonight. I am warning the Supreme Election Council, you have to provide the data from the cities,” urged the opposition leader.

As the night wore on, Kılıçdaroğlu grew increasingly frustrated with what he saw as delaying tactics.

“Don’t block the will of the nation. Let the results come in and everyone know the results,” said the opposition leader. He did not name AK Party directly, but it was heavily implied.

“The country doesn’t have any more patience for instability,” continued Kılıçdaroğlu. “You cannot manage the situation by manipulation, don’t be afraid of the will of the people.”

Implications for Greece

In recent years, bilateral relations between Athens and Ankara have deteriorated sharply, with a military confrontation in the Aegean an unlikely but not altogether impossible scenario.

For that reason, policymakers in Athens will have to consider the consequences – positive or negative – of the results of the Turkish elections. Turkey’s strategic posture in the Eastern Mediterranean has the possibility to dramatically shift Greece’s national security.

See all the latest news from Greece and the world at Contact our newsroom to report an update or send your story, photos and videos. Follow GR on Google News and subscribe here to our daily email!

Related Posts