President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressed a huge crowd of supporters from the balcony of his party’s headquarters in Ankara early Monday morning, saying he believes he will win in the first round, but unlike his opponents, will patiently wait for the final results to be announced.
“We believe we can get above 50% in this round,” Erdogan said in a speech shortly after 2am, while acknowledging that “both domestic and overseas voting results will take time to come in.”
“But of course we are not like those who try to deceive the nation… by creating a picture where they are far behind but saying they were ahead,” he added.
“We don’t yet know if the elections ended in the first round… If our nation has chosen for a second round, that is also welcome,” he said, stating that “throughout our political life, without exception, we have always respected the decision of the national will.”
By 3am, the head of the Supreme Election Council, Ahmet Yener, confirmed that with more than 91% of the ballots counted, Erdogan’s initially comfortable lead had fallen to 49.49% – below the majority needed to avoid a runoff – while his main rival, Kemal Kilicdaroglu of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), had 44.49%.
Kilicdaroglu accused the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party of stalling and “blocking the will of Türkiye” by demanding recounts and thorough verification of the results. The outsider candidate, Sinan Ogan, also chipped in with claims that his camp has “heard that some manipulations are carried out in the overseas vote counting processes.”
The election authority has yet to finalize the count and announce official results. While most of the domestic votes are already tallied, almost 30% of the ballots cast outside of the country have yet to be counted, Yener added early Monday morning.
The breakdown may also change depending on how the election body deals with the votes cast for a candidate who had withdrawn from the race but nevertheless received around 0.5%. If no candidate wins at least half of the vote, a run-off will be held on May 28.