Turkey: Hours before polls open, silence falls

Posted June 24, 2018

They accuse Erdogan of trying to force one-man-rule on Turkey by directly appointing top public officials including ministers and vice-presidents.

Officers resorted to firing their guns into the air to stop the threesome in the country's southeastern province of Urfa from delivering four sacks stuffed with fake voting cards to the Bilge Primary School, which was being used as a polling station. Mr Erdogan, who has been in power since 2003, is seeking a new five-year term with vastly increased powers under a new system and his ruling party is hoping to retain its majority in parliament.

"But our military operation in Syria and the historically significant regional developments in Syria and Iraq made it compulsory for Turkey to overcome the uncertainties", said Erdogan.

Mr Erdogan also promised to deliver more of the big infrastructure projects that have characterised his time in power and helped make him the most popular - if also the most divisive - leader of modern Turkish history.

Polls across the country officially closed at 5 p.m. local time in the elections where previously divided opposition parties have come together in a tenuous alliance in an effort to end what they call Erdogan's march toward "one-man rule". He warned supporters that a "fear regime" would continue if Erdogan is re-elected, predicting that financial markets would be rattled and the national lira currency would decline further.

Ince told a rally on Saturday he would lift the state of emergency within 48 hours of being elected president.

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Erdogan's supporters said only he could ensure political and economic stability in Turkey.

Erdogan faced an energetic campaign by the Ince, who has rivaled the incumbent's charisma and crowd-pulling on the campaign trail, and a strong opposition alliance in the legislative poll.

Opposition parties and NGOs have said they were deploying half a million monitors at ballot boxes to prevent fraud.

Ince, head of the Republican People's Party and the main opposition presidential candidate, urged monitors and citizens to protect ballot boxes on voting day against fraud.

In sum, it is fair to say that the June 2018 elections are likely to be remembered for the active intervention of Turkey's civil society in the voting and counting process against fraud.

As he cast his vote, Erdogan said the changes marked a "democratic revolution", although his opponents regard the most recent phase of his rule differently.

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Speaking to reporters in front of the High Electoral Board (YSK), Ince warned members of the YSK to "do your job the right way" and not leave their stations without signed results.

YSK chairman Sadi Guven told Anadolu it was taking steps in response to reports of irregularities in Sanliurfa's Suruc town, near the Syrian border.

Erdogan blamed the coup on his former ally, USA -based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, and has waged a sweeping crackdown on the preacher's followers in Turkey.

"This is no longer a Turkey we want".

Trailing were Meral Aksener of the nationalist (Iyi) Good Party with over seven percent and Selahattin Demirtas of the pro-Kurdish Peoples´ Democratic Party (HDP) with under six percent. "Rights are violated, democracy is in bad shape", said health sector worker Sema, 50, after voting in Istanbul. If it does so, it will be harder for the AKP to get a majority.

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