Turkey votes as Erdoğan eyes second term

The election is being described as one of the most intense in recent history as incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdoğan faces a tough challenge by centre-left candidate Muharrem Ince of the Republican People's Party

Turkey is voting in general elections today with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan looking to secure a second term in office. His plans could be scuppered by the centre-left candidate Muharrem Ince of the secularist Republican People's Party (CHP) who is being viewed as a very real threat to the incumbent.

Turkey remains under a state of emergency, which has been in place since the failed coup in July 2016, with experts stating that an Erdogan re-election would weaken democratic rule in the country.

"If Erdogan wins, your phones will continue to be listened to... Fear will continue to reign," Ince told at least a million people gathered in Istanbul on Saturday, urging them to put an end to Erdoğan 16-year rule. "If Ince wins, the courts will be independent.”

Ince, an affable physics teacher who has been an MP for 16 years has sought a united front against Erdoğan over the course of the campaign and has pledged to roll back presidential powers, restore the rule of law in Turkey and end the prosecution and imprisonment of dissidents and journalists. 

Erdogan on his part has accused Ince of not having the leadership skills to move the country forward, "It's one thing to be a physics teacher, it's another thing to run a country," Erdogan told his supporters. "Are we going to give them an Ottoman slap tomorrow?"

If none of the six running candidates reaches the required threshold, the top two will face-off in a second-round vote on 8 July.

More in Europe