Turkey election: Both Erdogan, Kilicdaroglu claim to be ahead as vote count ongoing
Turkish opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said on Sunday that he was leading ahead of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan despite state media reporting initial election results which put Erdogan in the lead.
Kilicdaroglu, who is backed by the opposition alliance “Table of Six”, said on Twitter: “We are currently in the lead.”
Yet, state-run TRT World and Anadolu Agency reported early projections that showed Erdogan was ahead with 50.83 percent of votes, compared to 43.36 percent for Kilicdaroglu. The numbers were based on a tally of 74.47 percent of all ballot boxes.
Spokesman for Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) Omer Celik said that emerging initial data put Erdogan in the lead.
Meanwhile, the mayors of Istanbul and Ankara, both members of the opposition, said that Kilicdaroglu was in the lead. Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu asked Turks not to heed election results from state news agency Anadolu and said that initial results showed that Kilicdaroglu was on track to win.
“We can say this comfortably: Mr. Kilicdaroglu will be announced as the 13th president of our country today,” said Imamoglu.
And Ankara's mayor Mansur Yavas said: “Anadolu Agency no longer fulfils its function. According to the data we have, the rate of ballot boxes opened is 23.87%. Kemal Kilicdaroglu is currently in the lead. Trust us, believe us.”
Earlier, Kilicdaroglu’s party the Republican People’s Party (CHP) said that early voting results were positive. CHP spokesman Faik Oztrak said on TV: “According to the data we received so far, we see the table very positively. When the number of ballot boxes opened reaches a meaningful figure, we will start to share the number of votes.”
Should neither candidate secure more than half the votes in Sunday’s first round of voting, a May 28 run-off will be held.