News / Europe

Turkey Chooses New President in Direct Election

A polling station official checks the documents of an elderly voter as he waits to cast his vote for the Turkey's presidential election in Ankara, Aug. 10, 2014.
A polling station official checks the documents of an elderly voter as he waits to cast his vote for the Turkey's presidential election in Ankara, Aug. 10, 2014.
Dorian Jones

The people of Turkey are voting for the first time in the country’s history to elect their president. According to opinion polls Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the front-runner, despite last years nationwide anti-government protests, corruption accusations and accusations of authoritarianism.  

In central Istanbul voters were out early for the country’s first direct presidential election. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan enjoys a commanding lead in opinion polls and is widely expected to win an absolute majority.

For some voters, the choice was simple. "Tayyip Tayyip I am supporting him, look everywhere what he has done, he made this country beautiful and rich," said a young woman. "He always works for the people."

Erdogan has been the country's prime minister for more than a decade.  Under his rule, Turkey's economy has transformed into a regional power. That success is widely seen as key to the loyalty of his supporters, despite last year’s nationwide anti-government protests, and massive corruption allegations implicating his family.

But in an election eve rally in Ankara, Erdogan promised more prosperity.

The prime minister told the crowd, "God willing a new Turkey is being established tomorrow.  A strong Turkey is rising again from the ashes".

Analysts say the election campaign was bitter, with the prime minister using religion and ethnicity against his rivals, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and Selahattin Demirtas. International monitors already have questioned the fairness of the polls, saying Mr. Erdogan used his position to the disadvantage of his rivals. They said state media also gave disproportionate coverage to the prime minister.

Analysts warn the presidential campaign has only added to the deep polarization in Turkish society.

One voter says he fears an Erdogan’s presidency.

"He’s becoming more harsher than everyone thought of, we are getting less and less democratic day by day, I think this will continue," he explained.
 
Polls are due to close at 5 PM local time and a result is expected late Sunday night.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid