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“The country can throw itself headlong into the Western camp and it is scary”: how Turkey voted in the presidential elections

Date: October 4, 2023 Time: 16:43:20

On May 28, Türkiye voted in the presidential election.


The second round of the presidential elections in Turkey was held on Sunday. In them, the citizens of the republic elected a president with a term of five years. There were two contenders for the republic’s top job: the country’s current president, chairman of the ruling center-right Justice and Development Party, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, 69, and a candidate from a bloc of six opposition parties. , Chairman of the center-left Republican People’s Party, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, 74.


On May 14, 2023, in the first round of the elections, 49.52% of voters voted for Erdogan and 44.88% for Kılıçdaroglu. Since no one passed the 50 percent threshold, the fight between Erdogan and Kılıçdaroğlu continued until the second round.

It was held in Ankara in exactly the same way as the first: quietly, calmly, with a high turnout. The public in the street is very different from what it usually is: nowadays people dress up for a party, most of the time they go in couples or entire families.


In schools where polling stations are open, the picture is the same: lots of people, a calm environment. After voting, many remain in the schoolyard for some time, sitting on benches, talking.

The police are on duty near the schools, while the policemen are sitting relaxed in the courtyard together with the voters resting after the will, talking, looking at the phones.

“Everything is calm here, and not only in our area, but in all of Turkey, as far as I know, there are no emergency situations,” says the policeman, glancing sideways at my phone. – Just don’t shoot me – we can’t get into the painting… Do you see that there are several wheelchairs at the entrance? This is for the comfort of older voters who have difficulty getting around.


At this moment, a private car enters the schoolyard, a very old woman cautiously exits, limping.

“Actually, private cars are not allowed here, but we are going to meet people,” says the police officer.

The same imperturbable situation is found in the classes distributed according to the domiciles of the voters.

“As in the first round, today there is a high turnout, everything is going on as usual, there are no violations,” the electoral commission said.


There is a benevolent attitude towards journalists, even foreign ones – they are allowed to shoot from any angle, and they are not even opposed to shooting a blank ballot with a stamp, which is handed out to voters.

In each class there are inseparably several observers from different parties.

– We don’t have any comments yet, we’re here in the morning. Then we will be present at the vote count and we will write them down on special cards. And then we will transfer the data from these cards to our party: they keep their own vote count, a man who represents the opposition Popular Republican Party explains to me.


A woman, leaving the booth, hands an envelope with a ballot to her 7- or 8-year-old son, who proudly lowers it into the ballot box to the approving smiles of commission members.

“It is better not to film that a child is throwing a ballot paper, then they will say in Russia that children vote in Turkey,” one of the observers mutters worriedly, looking at me doubtfully.

“Don’t worry,” I reply. – In our country, children are also happy to cast their votes, they join the historical process!

“Ah well, then, okay,” the vigilante comrade sighed with relief.


Voters are reluctant to share information about their vote. Most refuse or laugh at routine phrases about hoping for a good future for Turkey.

Most of those who dared to express their position supported Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. However, they refused to name him.

“We want change, Erdogan has been sitting in his chair, enough is enough, he is tired of it,” says a middle-aged voter. – All my life I voted for the People’s Republican Party, and now I vote for Kılıçdaroğlu, nothing will bring me down on this course. Will my candidate win? I don’t think so.


– I want transparency in Turkey, so that the mind of not one person, but the state, rules, so that there is no policy that divides people according to religion and nationalities. I believe that it is necessary to pursue a policy that is not destructive, but constructive and principled with our neighbors. Turkey needs to get rid of the hypocrisy in which it seems that we are friends with Russia, but at the same time arms are being sold to Ukraine. It is also time to send millions of refugees back to Syria. Therefore, changes are needed. Kılıçdaroglu is just the beginning for me. We need to change a lot,-the young man explains his choice.

We managed to get an interesting opinion from our compatriots who have Russian and Turkish citizenship; there are many of them in Türkiye.

“Many ‘Russian wives’ who are married to Turks vote the same as their husbands,” says Irina, a Russian woman who has lived in Ankara for many years. – In addition, even the opportunity to retire in a booth and vote as you want, because no one will verify it! – does not contribute to the expression of one’s own opinion. It’s a kind of automatic syndrome. It’s like football clans – you know Turkey is divided into fans of Fenerbahce, Galatasaray and Besiktas football clubs. Who is the husband for that and the wife, and this is not even discussed. Oddly enough, the same algorithm worked here. But my husband and I vote differently: my husband is for Kılıçdaroglu, I am for Erdogan. I told him that I am also a citizen of Turkey, I have the right to vote for whoever I see fit, and he agreed to this.


At the same time, the woman admits that her choice is not entirely ideal: Erdogan has a strange policy regarding bank rates, which is why inflation is accelerating.

– But now the foreign policy position is much more important: Erdogan has shown that he knows how to maneuver, maintain a balance between Russia and the West, and I hope that he will be able to prevent Turkey from slipping into the international conflicts that are raging around. There is no such certainty about Kılıçdaroglu, he himself said that his priority is the West and NATO. And this means that Turkey can plunge headlong into the camp of the Western coalition, and it is scary to imagine what this could lead to. If Turkey opposes Russia, then all our inflationary suffering will seem like childish sadness. Therefore, I am for Erdogan, explains our compatriot.

In Turkey, not only the social, but also the administrative division of people according to political opinions is accepted. Each city is informally divided into neighborhoods, where the conservative or secular population lives predominantly. And there are entire cities that profess this or that philosophy, this is clearly seen in any election, when a candidate with certain political and ideological attitudes is guaranteed to win an overwhelming majority of votes in those cities or even in entire regions.


Ankara is no exception. For example, the Çankaya region is known for its liberal views, there are virtually no women with head coverings, and local residents often vote for the Kılıçdaroğlu party. While in the Sinjdan metropolitan area, on the contrary, conservative and religious views prevail, there, as a rule, the votes go to Erdogan.

“I voted for Erdogan,” says Baki, a Sinjan resident. – They accuse him of raising prices. But what about Erdogan? Prices always go up, where do they go down? The economy in the world is organized like this, and there is no need to blame the president for this. And I don’t trust the opposition, because it is connected to the terrorist organization, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. She won’t get my vote.

At 5:00 pm, the polling stations in Turkey closed and the counting of votes began. It is expected that closer to midnight it will be clear who will be the new president of the republic.


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Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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