Sunday marked the end of voting in Turkey’s presidential election, and the incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is allied with the incumbent President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, advanced to the first runoff round.
A runoff election will take place on May 28 between Erdogan and the most prominent candidate of the opposition, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who did not receive the required number of votes to win outright.
More than 64 million Turks have the ability to vote in the election, and more than 3.4 million voters from abroad have already cast their ballots by the deadline on Tuesday. Initial tallies indicated that Erdogan had amassed the most support, receiving 49.5% of the vote compared to the liberal contender’s 44.82% share of the vote.
The percentage of votes received by Muharrem Ince, the founder of the Homeland Party, and Sinan Ogan, the chairman of the ATA Alliance, were both much lower than the percentages received by the two frontrunners. Ince received 0.5% of the vote, and Ogan received 5.3% of the vote.
On Sunday, voting took place for the presidential election in Turkey, with a turnout of 88.92 percent and 52.69 percent of ballots filed from overseas. Critics have condemned President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his restrictive policies against human rights and the media, as well as his strong ties with Vladimir Putin, who began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February. Erdogan also has been criticized for his strong friendship with Putin.
While opposition candidate Ahmet Yener has promised “true democracy” for Turks, Howard Eissenstat has expressed concern that the significance of democracy will be eroded if Erdogan is re-elected for another five years. In addition to this, he has pledged to mend the fractured relations with the West that were caused by Erdogan’s administration, all the while ensuring that relations with Russia remain amicable. The connection between Turkey and Russia is a “mutual and interdependent one,” according to Daria Isachenko, an associate at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs. This is true regardless of who is in control in either country. In the event that Kilicdaroglu wins the election, it is likely that relations between Turkey and Russia would develop further.