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Turkey holds historic presidential election



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    Turkey holds historic presidential election


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A historic election is underway that will decide whether Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will continue his two decades in power. Raf Sanchez of NBC News has details on how this election could affect the future of Turkey’s relationship with NATO.

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Election tally shows Turkey’s Erdogan could run in second round of presidential election



ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Voter support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fell below the majority needed for his full re-election as the vote count in Turkey’s national elections nearly wrapped up on Sunday, raising the possibility that the country is heading towards a May 28 presidential election. run away.

With almost 95% of the ballot boxes counted, unofficial results showed Erdogan 49.6% of the vote, according to the state-run Anadolu agency. His main rival, opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, scored 44.7% as the gap between them narrowed as the night wore on.

Meanwhile, the opposition news agency Anka reported that when almost all ballots were counted, Erdogan received 49% and Kılıçdaroğlu 45%. Ballots from Turkish citizens who voted from outside the country still have to be added to the vote count and a runoff is not guaranteed, officials said.

If no candidate receives more than half of the votes, the top two candidates compete against each other after two weeks. Turkey’s electoral body, the Supreme Electoral Council, said it was providing numbers to competing political parties “immediately” but would not release the results until the vote count was completed and completed.

Erdogan, 69, has led Turkey as prime minister or president for two decades. Leading up to the election, opinion polls showed that the increasingly authoritarian leader was barely behind his rival. The opposition candidate’s party accused Anadolu of manipulating the results, insisting that the 74-year-old finance official was barely in the lead.

A race that was mainly focused on internal problems such as economics, civil rights and february earthquake which killed more than 50,000 people, it looked like it would be the toughest re-election bid in the Turkish leader’s 20-year rule.

As partial results show otherwise, members of the centre-left pro-secular Republican People’s Party Kilicdaroglu (CHP) said the state news agency was biased in favor of Erodgan.

Ömer Celik, a spokesman for Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party, or AK, in turn accused the opposition of “trying to kill the national will”, saying the state news agency was misrepresenting the results. He called the opposition’s claims “irresponsible”.

While Erdogan hoped to win a five-year term that would take him into his third decade as Turkey’s leader, Kılıçdaroğlu, 74, campaigned promising to return the country to a more democratic path and restore its economy, which had been hit by high inflation. and currency devaluation.

Voters also elected lawmakers to fill Turkey’s 600-seat parliament, which lost much of its legislative power following a referendum to change the country’s system of government to an executive presidential narrow passed in 2017.

With 88% of the ballot boxes counted, Anadolu said Erdogan’s ruling party alliance hovered above 50% and the Kilicdaroglu National Alliance hovered around 35%.

More than 64 million people had the right to vote. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of Turkey as a republic, a modern secular state born on the ashes of the Ottoman Empire.

Voter turnout in Turkey is traditionally high, but since the 2016 coup attempt, the government has cracked down on freedom of expression and assembly. Erdogan blamed the failed coup on supporters of a former ally, the cleric Fethullah Gülen, and launched a wide-ranging crackdown on government officials allegedly linked to Gülen and pro-Kurdish politicians.

on the international levelelections were seen as a test of the ability of the united opposition to remove the leader, who had concentrated almost all state power in his hands and achieved greater influence on world stage.

Erdogan, along with the UN, helped broker a deal with Ukraine and Russia that allowed Ukrainian grain to reach the rest of the world from Black Sea ports despite Russia’s war with Ukraine. The agreement, which is being implemented by the center in Istanbul, is set to expire in a few days, and Turkey held talks last week to keep it.

But Erdogan also put a hold on Sweden’s aspirations to join NATO, while demanding concessionsarguing that the country was too lenient towards the followers of the American cleric and members of pro-Kurdish groups, whom Turkey considers a threat to national security.

Critics argue that the president’s despotic style has caused a painful cost-of-living crisis. According to the latest official statistics, inflation is around 44% compared to a high of 86%. The price of vegetables became the subject of an election campaign by the opposition, which used an onion as a symbol.

In contrast to mainstream economic thinking, Erdogan argues that high interest rates are fueling inflation, and he has several times pressured the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey to lower the main rate.

Erdogan’s government has also faced criticism for its allegedly belated and inadequate response to a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that devastated 11 southern provinces. Careless enforcement of building codes is believed to have exacerbated the casualties and suffering.

In his election campaign, Erdogan used state resources and his dominance over the media to try to win over voters. He accused the opposition of colluding with “terrorists”, of being a “drunkard”, and of defending LGBTQ+ rights, which he says threatens traditional family values ​​in a predominantly Muslim nation.

In an effort to garner support, he increased wages and pensions and subsidized electricity and gas bills, and showed Turkey’s domestic defense and infrastructure projects.

The Kilicdaroglu National Alliance has pledged to return Turkey’s governance system to parliamentary democracy if it wins both the presidential and parliamentary elections. He also promised to restore the independence of the judiciary and the central bank and to abolish suppression of free speech and other forms of retreat from democracy in Turkey.

“We all missed democracy so much. We all missed being together,” Kılıçdaroğlu said after voting at a school in Ankara.

Also running for president was Sinan Ogan, a former academic backed by an anti-immigrant nationalist party. His candidacy was expected to draw potential supporters away from the two main candidates.

At the polling stations, many voters struggled to fold bulky ballots—they featured 24 political parties competing for seats in parliament—and put them in envelopes with their presidential ballots.

Nearly 9 million people were eligible to vote in the 11 provinces hit by the earthquake. About 3 million people left the quake area for other provinces, but only 133,000 people registered to vote in the new locations.

In Diyarbakir, a Kurdish-majority city hit by an earthquake, Ramazan Akcay arrived early at his polling station to cast his vote.

“God grant that these are democratic elections,” he said. “Let it be useful for the sake of our country.”

Bilginsoy reports from Istanbul. Mucahit Ceylan contributed from Diyarbakir, Türkiye.

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Former GOP Rep Says DeSantis And Trump Propose Different Types Of White Nationalism



According to one former Republican congressman, 2024 GOP leaders Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis represent varieties of white nationalism.

The former president and governor of Florida consistently lead polls for the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination. Trump, who is running for a second term in the White House after losing to Joe Biden in 2020, announced his current run much earlier than usual, just after last year’s midterms. In the meantime, DeSantis has yet to officially enter the race, but he is expected to plan to announce one before the end of the spring.

Despite early fears among party members that his influence on the party was toxic, Trump now regularly leads DeSantis in the polls, often by double-digit margins. While the Florida governor may be trailing the former president, he is also the only candidate to score significant numbers other than Trump. Others, such as former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and businessman Vivek Ramaswami, regularly post low single digits.

David Jolly is a former congressman who represented Florida’s 13th congressional district from 2014 to 2017. He officially left the Republican Party in 2018 due to the direction the party took under Trump and has remained independent ever since.

Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis meeting at the White House in 2018. Former Republican David Jolly said on Sunday that Trump and DeSantis represent different currents of white nationalism.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

On Sunday, the former congressman appeared on MSNBC with others to discuss recent comments by Senator Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, in which he said that white nationalists are just “Americans” in his eyes and should not be expelled from the military. Jolly said it was another example of the Republican ideology of white nationalism, adding that Trump and DeSantis also advocated different varieties of it.

“The danger of what we see in these remarks is the normalization and incorporation of white nationalism into today’s Republican Party,” Jolly said. “You see it with Donald Trump and his nod to the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys… Donald Trump, I love to say, offers white nationalism for the working man. Ron DeSantis offers white nationalism to the country club crowd. They belong to the same party, the story is the same.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center defines “white nationalism” as groups that “support the ideology of white supremacy or white separatism” with a focus on “the perceived inferiority of non-whites”. Some examples he provides on his official website include “Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Confederates, Neo-Nazis, [and] racist skinheads” who, he said, could “fairly be described as white nationalists”.

Newsweek emailed Trump and DeSantis for comment.

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