Polls open in Turkey’s high-stakes elections


Polls have opened in Turkey’s joint presidential and parliamentary elections, seen as the biggest test at the ballot box for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of his 15 years in power.

On Saturday, up to a million people turned out for one of the last opposition campaign rallies ahead of Sunday’s elections.

The rally, held in Istanbul, was in support of Muharrem Ince, the main competitor to President Erdogan.

Mr Erdogan is expected to be re-elected but might be forced into a run-off by the opposition.

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Video: Final campaign push ahead of historic election in Turkey

A coalition of parties have teamed up to challenge the hold that Mr Erdogan’s AK party has on parliament – and the president risks losing his majority.

“We want change,” one opposition supporter told Sky News. “We can win, yes we can win.”

Ince with his mother Zekiye at the rally
Image: Ince with his mother Zekiye at the rally

The president has arrested and jailed many of his opponents and critics since the attempted coup in 2016.

Selahattin Demirtas is one of the country’s best-known politicians. He is campaigning to be president from jail – he was locked up for alleged links to the banned Kurdish PKK party.

A million people attend an election rally of Muharrem Ince
Image: It is estimated that a million people attended Muharrem Ince’s election rally on Saturday

From his prison cell, he told Sky News that he doesn’t think the elections will be free and fair: “A fair election would mean AKP cannot win.

“If Erdogan and AKP finally decide to think about the welfare of the country and decide to respect the will of the voters, then voters will be able to vote in a fair and free atmosphere.

More from Recep Tayyip Erdogan

“But we are not that unrealistic and we will work our best to prevent votes to be stolen. It is very important that all voters from every party protect their votes.”

Supporters at Mr Erdogan's rally
Image: Supporters at Mr Erdogan’s rally

The results of the elections should be known by late evening.

From – SkyNews