TURKEY – Today polls open in Turkey’s high-stakes presidential and parliamentary elections in a race that is proving tighter than expected for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Voting commenced at 8am (5am GMT) and ends at 5pm (2pm GMT).

Yesterday Turkey’s presidential candidate Muharrem Ince, opposition to Erdogan, rallied in front of hundreds of thousands of supporters at a campaign rally in Istanbul. “If Erdogan wins, your phones will continue to be listened to… Fear will continue to reign… If Ince wins, the courts will be independent,” said Ince.

Erdogan, 64, who was elected president in August 2014 after over a decade as prime minister, moved the elections forward from November 2019.

Erdogan has come under harsh criticism for his authoritarian-like rule in recent years, as tens of thousands of people have been detained since he put Turkey under emergency rule after an alleged coup attempt in 2016.

Image: Millions of people gather in Maltepe (Istanbul) to support opposition leader Muharrem Ince, the presidential candidate of the secularist centre-left CHP (Credits: @JoFobelets).