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US congratulates Turkish people on ‘peaceful’ elections

May 16, 2023 at 10:05 am

Polling clerks count votes after presidential and parliamentary elections ended in Ankara, Turkiye on May 14, 2023. Polling stations across Turkiye closed as voting ended at 5 p.m. local time (1400GMT) [Özge Elif Kızıl/Anadolu Agency]

The US has congratulated the Turkish people on holding “peaceful” presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday, Anadolu has reported.

“The Biden administration lauds the Turkish people for expressing their desires at the ballot box in a peaceful way,” said National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby on Monday. “President Joe Biden is looking forward to working with whoever the [presidential election] winner is, although that’s not clear right now.”

The Turkish people get to decide what their government looks like, and they obviously took their citizenship seriously here by going to the ballot box, he told reporters during a virtual briefing. As expected, there will be a runoff between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his main rival in the presidential race, opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

“It was certainly good to see the Turkish people come out and vote, and have their voices heard,” added Kirby.

READ: Erdogan scents victory in election runoff as stock market falls

Meanwhile, the US State Department expressed confidence in the democratic process in Turkiye. Addressing a press briefing on Monday, Deputy Spokesman Vedant Patel said that the country has a long, proud democratic tradition. “We trust that the Turkish authorities will carry out this next phase of the presidential election in line with the country’s laws and in a manner that is consistent with its commitments to the OCDE as well as a NATO ally,” he explained. “We look forward to deepening our alliances and cooperation with whatever Turkish Government is chosen by the people of Turkiye.”

The country will hold a second-round runoff on 28 May to elect the president after no candidate won an outright majority in Sunday’s poll, the head of the nation’s election authority announced on Monday. The first round of voting ended with no candidate able to clear the required 50 per cent threshold, but incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took the lead, said Ahmet Yener, head of the Supreme Election Council, citing unofficial results. Erdogan finished the first round with 49.51 per cent of the vote; Kilicdaroglu was second at 44.88 per cent.

The voter turnout in Sunday’s elections was 88.92 per cent, with turnout from Turkish citizens abroad at 52.69 per cent, added Yener.