According to a Finnish researcher, the results of the election in Turkey were surprising as Kilikdaroglu was predicted to receive more votes than Erdogan.
Turkey’s opposition coalition appeared to accept preliminary official election results announced in Turkey today.
A representative of the CHP party, led by opposition presidential candidate Kemal Kilikdaroglu, also confirmed in a televised statement on Monday afternoon that Turkey’s presidential election would go to a second round.
On Sunday and the night before Monday, the opposition accused election observers of supporting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and alleged delays and suspected opacity in reporting results at the ballot box.
However, on Monday the party’s spokesman, Faik Oztrack, in his statement did not challenge the preliminary results, according to which Erdogan received about five percent more votes. Erdogan’s AK Party is also getting a majority in the Turkish Parliament.
– It has been confirmed that the elections will go to the second round. We will work hard for the next 15 days to bring justice to this country… The winner will be Turkey, he said on live TV on the Hull TV channel.
According to Oztrack, the remaining approximately 300 uncounted ballots would not change the election result. He did not answer questions from reporters.
results were opposite to expected
In light of the results, both Erdogan and Kilikdaroglu fell short of the more than 50 percent votes needed to win the first round.
According to results announced in the morning by Turkey’s official Election Commission (YSK), Erdogan was receiving 49.4 percent of the vote when almost all votes had been counted. Kilicdaroglu got 45 percent of the vote.
The elections were held in a very illiberal setting, where autocrat Erdogan, who has led Turkey for more than twenty years, controls the entire state apparatus and the vast majority of Turkish media.
Opinion polls predicted the opposite result and an edge for Kilikdaroglu. Anu Leinonen, representative of the Finnish Middle East Institute Foundation, told STT today’s election results were surprising.
– I am surprised by this result. I expected it to go to the second round, but I am surprised that Erdogan got more votes than Kilicdaroglu. Leinonen said the results were now the opposite of what was predicted.
The researcher has followed the elections in Istanbul.
– They are talking here that the opinion polls were the losers because they got it so wrong. It’s too early to say what’s causing this.
The pollsters cited recently have been found to be very reliable, although of course there have also been many objective polls conducted, Leonen reflected.
It was quite a defensive victory for Erdogan, who from his point of view could have expected a worse outcome, Leonen said.
The third presidential candidate, Turkish nationalist Sinan Ogan, dropped out of the race with just over five percent of the vote.
Result reported with break
Typically in Turkey, the results of elections are known hours in advance on the evening of election day. Erdogan’s supporters called for multiple recounts in several constituencies where the opposition has traditionally been strong, leading to vote counting errors.
According to the opposition, Erdogan’s ruling party has repeatedly opposed the results in which opposition candidates are leading. The counting of votes also slowed down considerably as the possibility of a second round grew.
According to Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, seven million votes were withheld from the counting process because of these protests. Imamoglu said that Erdogan’s party had used similar tactics in the last seven or eight elections.
– No one has so far alleged large-scale election rigging. Apparently, opposition representatives and non-committed election observers were also present during the counting. There seem to have been only considerable personal ambiguities, Leonen speculates.
Leinonen suspected that, based on opinion polls, Erdogan may have expected a worse result from his own perspective, which may explain the delay in reporting the results.
Erdogan declared victory in the middle of the counting of votes.
The opposition also accused Erdogan of prematurely declaring victory. On Monday morning, President Erdogan appeared before supporters on the balcony of his party’s central office in Ankara and said he was “clearly” ahead of his main rival Kilikdaroglu when votes were being counted.
– I am sure that we will continue to serve the people in the next five years, he said to cheers.
Erdogan also said that his ruling party and its ultra-nationalist allies were on their way to a clear majority in the country’s parliament.
Erdogan has given a speech from the balcony of his party’s central office after every election he has won.
The AK Party, led by Erdogan and his allies, was getting more than half the seats in the country’s parliament. However, parliamentary elections are less important than presidential elections because, in Turkey’s current system, power is strongly concentrated in the president and parliament can be bypassed in decision-making.
“Perhaps the second round will go smoothly”
Sunday’s elections in Turkey turned out to be a referendum of sorts on whether President Erdogan’s more than twenty-year rule would continue and, as expected, turned out in large numbers. The voting percentage increased to close to 90 percent.
However, voting and election night passed far more peacefully than fearfully. Researcher Leinonen speculates that this could predict a less tense atmosphere in the second round of the election campaign.
– The assumption was that we would hear even more harsh rhetoric or at least we would see violent provocations, for example, in the Kurdish region of Turkey. Perhaps the next two weeks will be more peaceful than expected, now that Erdogan is leading with a significant number of votes in the first round. A lot depends on Erdogan.