President Tayyip Erdogan won the first round of voting in Turkey over opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu, but fell short of a clear majority needed to continue ruling the NATO member state for another 20 years.
In an election seen as a verdict on Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian path, neither Erdogan nor Kilicdaroglu received the required 50% of the vote to avoid a second round, which will be held on May 28.
Turkey's presidential election will determine not only who will be in charge, but also whether the country returns to a more secular, democratic path,
how it will address its severe cost of living crisis, and how it will handle important relations with Russia, the Middle East, and the West.
Kilicdaroglu urged his supporters to be patient and accused Erdogan's party of interfering with the counting and reporting of results. Kilicdaroglu predicted he would win the runoff.
"We have 2.6 million more votes than our nearest competitor. With official results, we anticipate that this number will rise," Erdogan said.
According to the state-run news agency Anadolu, Erdogan was in the lead with 49.39% of the vote to Kilicdaroglu's 44.92% after almost 97% of the ballots had been counted.
With 91.93% of the ballots counted, Turkey's High Election Board gave Erdogan 49.49% of the vote.