Turkey’s presidential election will be decided in a run-off on May 28, after none of the candidates secured more than 50% of the votes in the first round on Sunday.
The incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been in power since 2003, won 49.51% of the vote, according to the Supreme Electoral Board. His main challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the centre-left Republican People’s Party (CHP), received 44.88%. The third candidate, Sinan Ogan, a former lawmaker from the nationalist MHP party, got 5.17%.
Erdogan, who leads an Islamic-rooted alliance of conservative and nationalist parties, has faced criticism for his authoritarian style of governance and his handling of the economic crisis and the aftermath of a devastating earthquake in February. He has also been accused of corruption and human rights violations by his opponents and some Western countries.
Kilicdaroglu, who heads a pro-secular coalition of liberal and left-wing parties, has promised to restore democracy, rule of law and social justice in Turkey if elected. He has also vowed to improve relations with Turkey’s NATO allies and the European Union, and to pursue a peaceful solution to the Kurdish conflict.
The run-off will be a tight race between the two candidates, who have very different visions for Turkey’s future. Erdogan has said he is confident of winning the second round, while Kilicdaroglu has said he will mobilize the voters who supported Ogan and other opposition parties in the first round.
The election comes at a critical time for Turkey, which is a key player in regional and international issues such as the war in Syria, migration flows to Europe, energy security and NATO’s expansion. The outcome will have significant implications for Turkey’s domestic stability and its role in the world.