Turkey’s President wishes for a “good future for our country and Turkish democracy” as he casts his own vote with results for the pivotal elections due to be released tonight.
On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived at the polling station in Uskudar, Istanbul, to cast his own vote as polls are open from 8 am to 5 pm local time with the kickoff of the presidential and legislative elections in the country.
“The voting process continues across the country without any problems. Our citizens in the earthquake region are also voting with great enthusiasm. We did not encounter any problems in that region too,” he told reporters, as he wished for a “good future for our country and Turkish democracy.”
Simultaneously, he called on Turkish citizens to vote without any concern, expressing that it is “very important in terms of demonstrating the strength of Turkish democracy.”
Meanwhile, main opposition presidential candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu cast his vote in the Cankaya district of the capital Ankara, and told reporters: “We all missed democracy very much. We all missed being together very much … You will see from now on, I hope spring will come to this country and spring will always continue.”
Kilicdaroglu went on to thank voters.
Similarly, Sinan Ogan of the Ancestral (ATA) Alliance also cast his vote in the same district, expressing, “Let’s spend this election in a festive mood in peace and gentleness” and urged citizens to keep voting at ballot boxes.
A combined total of over 64.1 million voters will vote both in the country and abroad, including around 4.9 million who will vote for the first time in Turkey.
Ballot box committees were set in 73 countries alongside 156 foreign representations, as the voting process overseas ended on May 9. The votes, now stored in the Overseas District Election Board in Ankara, will be counted with other votes on Sunday.
External forces meddling
The leader of the Turkish Innovation Party, Ozturk Yilmaz, told Sputnik on Sunday that certain foreign entities and countries have been exerting influence in the election campaign in Turkey, but it is uncertain the extent of its impact in affecting people’s choices.
“Of course, there is external meddling and I think this happens everywhere, particularly in Turkey. We see some foreign countries are trying to influence the way the election is headed, but I don’t know how effective it will be and how strong it will change and affect people’s choice,” Yilmaz stated.
This comes after Kilicdaroglu accused Russia of meddling in the elections of interfering in Turkish elections after he attributed an online smear campaign targeted at Muharrem Ince, a third presidential candidate, to Russia.
Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov responded to Kilicdaroglu’s comments, rejecting claims that Russia is interfering in the elections, while Erdogan said that the opposition leader should be ashamed for making these accusations.