Monday, 16 July, 2018

French delegation detained in Turkey during election

Erdogan seeks to cement power in Turkey's high-stakes votes Erdogan leads in Turkey’s presidential election – preliminary results
Lisa Bryan | 24 June, 2018, 23:20

It has condemned what it calls Mr Erdogan's "one-man rule".

"It's time for change", said Aynur, 40, an architect who cast her vote at a polling station near Istanbul's central Taksim Square.

Opposition parties and NGOs have said they were deploying half a million monitors at ballot boxes to prevent fraud. They have said election law changes and fraud allegations in the 2017 referendum raise fears about the vote's fairness.

Polling stations opened at 0500 GMT (10.30 IST) and were due to close at 1400 GMT (7.30pm IST), with the first results expected late in the evening.

Erdogan says his tough measures are needed to safeguard national security. "With the presidential system, Turkey is seriously raising the bar, rising above the level of contemporary civilizations".

Mr. Ince told a rally on June 23 he would lift the state of emergency within 48 hours of being elected president.

The state-run Turkish news agency Anadolu reported Sunday that around 10 Europeans faced legal action including three French citizens, three Germans and four Italians allegedly for acting as election observers without accreditation in the mainly Kurdish southeast.

Muharrem Ince, the main opposition's presidential candidate, stood at 29.4 percent nationwide, television channels said.

"Every shadow cast over the election is a blow to our democracy".


Speaking to reporters in front of the High Electoral Board (YSK), Ince warned members of the YSK to "do your job the right way" and not leave their stations without signed results.

The government gave no immediate response to the reports, but Erdogan said there had not been any serious problems.

Mr. Erdogan blamed the coup on his former ally, USA -based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, and has waged a sweeping crackdown on his followers in Turkey, detaining some 160,000 people, according to the United Nations.

"This is no longer a Turkey we want".

Turkey's voters will go to the polls Sunday for the country's second election since emergency rule was imposed after the 2016 attempted coup. "Rights are violated, democracy is in awful shape", said health sector worker Sema, 50, after voting in Istanbul.

Almost 60 million Turks are eligible to vote for 600 parliamentary seats, where the alliance led by Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) is likely to emerge as the strongest force. He won nearly 10 percent of the vote in the last election, and if he were to get a bigger percentage this time, the ruling coalition may lose its majority.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during a press conference following the first landing of his plane at the Istanbul New Airport on June 21, 2018.

The HDP passing the threshold is key for the opposition: Forecasts show that without them in parliament, the AKP and their junior coalition partner, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), would once again win the majority of seats.

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