From the BZ editorial team
The runoff election for the presidency in Turkey has begun!
At 8 a.m. (local time, 7 a.m. CEST) the doors of polling stations across the country opened. EVERYTHING is at stake today for incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (69) and his challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu (74).
► Erdogan goes into the vote as the favourite: In the first round of the election two weeks ago, he received the most votes, but missed an absolute majority.
► Kilicdaroglu ended up around 4.5 percentage points behind the incumbent, but was confident of victory in the exclusive BILD interview: “We will win and say goodbye to Erdogan democratically.”
61 million people are called upon to vote, and the polling stations close at 5 p.m. (local time, 4 p.m. CEST). Turkish citizens in Germany have already voted. Preliminary results are expected in the evening.
Who’s running now?
Kilicdaroglu voted for Erdogan in the metropolis of Istanbul on Sunday in a school in the capital Ankara. Kilicdaroglu said: “I invite all citizens to go to the polls to end oppression and authoritarianism and bring real freedom and democracy to this country.” He also called on his supporters to protect the ballot box, ” because this election is taking place under very difficult conditions.” The opposition had been defamed, for example.
Erdogan said when he voted in Istanbul that it was the first run-off election in Turkey’s history. He praised the high turnout in the first round on May 14 and said he expected another high turnout.
In the first round of the presidential election two weeks ago, turnout was around 87 percent. The election campaign was considered unfair. After the first round, international election observers criticized the government’s media dominance and the lack of transparency in voting. The electoral authority YSK is also considered politicized.