12-12-2019 08:55 PM Jerusalem Timing

Turkey Votes in First Direct Presidential Poll

Turkey Votes in First Direct Presidential Poll

After 11 years in power, Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyeb Erdogan has reached his three-year term limit and is running for president in Sunday’s election – the first by a popular vote.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyeb ErdoganAfter 11 years in power, Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyeb Erdogan has reached his three-year term limit and is running for president in Sunday’s election – the first by a popular vote.

In the past, parliament chose the country’s president, who has performed a largely ceremonial role.

Voters across Turkey cast their ballots in the August 10 vote. Opinion polls in the lead-up to Sunday’s election have put Erdogan’s support at between 51% to 56% of the vote – around 20 points ahead of the main opposition candidates. Under Turkish law, the leading candidate needs 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff.

Erdogan is widely expected to win the 2014 presidential election – despite an eventful year that saw protests break out in Istanbul’s Gezi Park, the eruption of a major corruption scandal that exposed the fault-lines in Turkish politics, as well as within Islamist ranks, and which sparked a vitriolic government campaign against the so-called “Gulenists” – supporters of US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen.

Opponents of the 60-year-old Erdogan criticize his authoritarian style, his purges of prosecutors and police officers, his attempts to stifle dissent by attacking the press and his overweening political ambition, which seeks to introduce a US-style presidential system without the American checks and balances on power.