Turks are voting in twin legislative and parliamentary elections which are seen as the toughest test President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has undergone at the ballot box.

She voted for the pro-Kurdish, left-wing Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and their presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtas - who campaigned from prison after being jailed on terrorism charges his supporters say are bogus - in the hope that they could pass the 10 percent threshold to enter parliament.

If no presidential candidate wins more than 50 per cent in Sunday's vote, a second round runoff will be held on July 8.

Along with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the AK Party's election ally, the People's Alliance has won 55.57 percent of the vote so far.

Voting in Istanbul along with his son-in-law and Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, Erdogan said he expected turnout to be strong in an indication of "how mature democracy is in Turkey".

Opposition parties and NGOs have said they were deploying half a million monitors at ballot boxes to prevent fraud.


Erdogan needs over 50% to retain the presidency in the first round, but these are still early results and the outcome could yet change.

As he cast his vote, Erdogan said the changes marked a "democratic revolution", although his opponents regard the most recent phase of his rule differently.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, accompanied by his grandchildren, casts his ballot at a polling station in Istanbul, Turkey June 24, 2018.

After leaving the polling station, he told reporters that Turkey would rise "above the level of contemporary civilizations" with the introduction of the presidential system.

But he reckoned without Ince, a former physics teacher and veteran CHP lawmaker, whose feisty performance at campaign rallies has galvanized Turkey's long-demoralized and divided opposition.

Mr. Erdogan blamed the coup on his former ally, US -based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, and has waged a sweeping crackdown on his followers in Turkey, detaining some 160,000 people, according to the United Nations.


Following the failed coup, Turkey has been under a state of emergency for almost two years and has seen a widespread crackdown on alleged supporters of Gulen.

The president's critics, including the European Union which Turkey still nominally aspires to join, say Erdogan has used the crackdown to stifle dissent.

Mr. Ince told a rally on June 23 he would lift the state of emergency within 48 hours of being elected president.

"Ince's wit, audacity, ability to poke holes through Erdogan's narrative and connect with Turks beyond the traditional base of his secularist CHP has flustered Erdogan and his team", said Anthony Skinner, head of MENA at Verisk Maplecroft. All we want is a fair competition.

An AK Party official said it expected Mr. Erdogan to win the election outright in the first round with at least 51%.


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