Türkiye: Erdogan distributes money in front of the polling station

After polling stations closed in Turkey, it took nearly six hours before the highest electoral authority announced the preliminary final result at around 9:40 pm German time: 52.14 against 47.86 percent. Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the winner again. He won the presidential election against his rival, Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

Footage circulated on social media showing Erdoğan distributing banknotes in front of a polling station in Istanbul that afternoon. The video shows Erdoğan surrounded by an even larger crowd of ardent supporters of the president. Some take pictures with their smartphones.

Erdogan repeatedly pulls a 200-lira banknote from his pocket and hands it to one of his supporters. An operation unimaginable in countries under democratic rule – Erdogan, on the other hand, has given cash gifts on previous occasions.

The 200 lira bill, the highest value banknote in Turkey, is not even worth the equivalent of ten euros. In 2015, it was 3.20 lira to 1 euro, and since then the value of the Turkish currency has dropped dramatically. The inflation rate reached 85 percent last year. Shortly before the run-off elections, the lira fell again against the euro and the US dollar.

In the first round of the presidential election two weeks ago, the incumbent narrowly lost an outright majority. He is now in a run-off against opposition leader Kilicdaroglu. About 61 million people were called to vote. The election campaign was considered unfair because the incumbent was given much more space in the largely state-controlled media to get his message out to the people. Even before polling stations closed in Turkey, opposition politicians reported attacks on election observers.

Ali Sukkar, a deputy from the main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), reported that he and an election worker were attacked by a group in Turkey’s southeastern Sanliurfa province after they complained about irregularities in the elections. CHP parliamentary group leader Ozgur Ozel had earlier written on Twitter that election observers had been beaten and had their phones smashed. He complained that there were not enough security personnel.

ISTANBUL: Presidential candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu casts his ballot at a polling station in Ankara.

Presidential candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu casts his vote at a polling station in Ankara.

(Photo: Ogur Yildirim/dpa)

Several media outlets also reported incidents in Istanbul. Accordingly, election workers were said to have been attacked in two areas. In another area, lawyers were not allowed to enter polling stations. This data cannot be independently verified.

When presidential candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu cast his vote in the Turkish capital, Ankara, he said: “These elections are taking place under very difficult circumstances.” The opposition was defamed.


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