Reported by the AFP news agency on Sunday (24/06/2018), the polls opened from 08.00 am Turkey time and will close at 05.00 pm Turkey time
There are 6 candidates who advanced in the elections including petahana Recep Tayyip Erdogan who has been in power in Turkey for 15 years. Erdogan (64) is known to have served as President of Turkey since 2014. Prior to that, Erdogan served Turkish Prime Minister (PM) from 2003 to 2014.
The other candidate is Muharrem Ince (54) who is named as Erdogan’s main rival. The Ince campaign was attended by hundreds of thousands of supporters and was recorded as the largest opposition campaign in Turkey in recent years.
Then, there is the name Meral Aksener (61). He is the only Turkish candidate in this election. The woman dubbed ‘Asena’ or ‘the wolf’ is determined to depose Erdogan, whose party has always won Turkish elections in the past 15 years.
Then there is Selahattin Demirtas (45) who is currently in jail on charges related to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which by Turkish authorities, the United States (US) and the European Union is categorized as a terrorist organization. In November 2016, Demirtas along with 12 other HDP MPs were arrested on terrorism charges. He is still in jail because the trial is not finished yet.
Two other candidates aged over 70 years are Temel Karamollaoglu (77) and Dogu Perincek (76). She has served as Vatan’s Chairman since 2015. She was caught in the Ergenekon case, which dragged hundreds of people from various backgrounds in Turkey. Ergenekon is the name of a secret secular organization accused of intending to overthrow the Turkish government. Free asset after only one year’s imprisonment of the life sentence handed down to him.
While Karamollaoglu has been Chairman of the Saadet Party since 2016. He declared himself a presidential candidate from Saadet after failing to convince other parties to jointly appoint a presidential candidate. Karamollaoglu served as Sivas Mayor between 1989-1995 years ago.
This year’s elections are one of the most important in modern Turkish history. The reason for this is that the winner of the presidential election will have new executive power under last year’s constitutional referendum, which decided to abolish the role of the PM and focus it on the President
In total there are 59.39 million registered voters in this year’s elections. That number includes 3.047 million voters abroad. A total of 180,065 ballot boxes have been deployed to 81 provinces in Turkey. While a total of 3,160 ballot boxes are provided in about 123 Turkish diplomatic missions in as many as 51 countries.