ISTANBUL: Turkey went to the polls Sunday in a closely-fought election that will determine whether President Recep Tayyip Erdogan can further tighten his grip on Turkey.
The legislative election is taking place under the shadow of violence after two people were killed and dozens more wounded in an attack on a rally of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir on Friday.
Ballot stations opened at 0500 GMT and will close at 1400 GMT, with over 53.7 million Turks eligible to vote. AFP correspondents reported a brisk morning turnout.
Opinion polls predict that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), co-founded by Erdogan, will again win the most votes, but its share could be sharply down on the almost 50 percent it gained in the last such vote in 2011.
Turkey’s economy is no longer firing on all cylinders, with growth slipping under three percent and unemployment ticking up.
Concern is also growing over Erdogan’s perceived authoritarian tendencies.
Since his election as president in 2014, after 11 years as prime minister, there has been an upsurge in cases against journalists and other members of the public accused of insulting him.