The August 2014 presidential election is important not only for its own sake, but even more so for what it portends for the future of Turkish democracy.
On 10 August 2014, in the first popular election of the Turkish President in the history of the Republic, Prime Minister and Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was elected in the first round with 51.79 percent of the vote. The other candidates, Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, the joint candidate of the Republican People’s Party (RPP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), garnered 38.44 percent while Selahattin Demirtaş, candidate for the Kurdish Democracy Party of Peoples (HDP), secured 9.78 percent. Voter turnout (74.12 percent) was considerably lower than in all recent parliamentary elections and also much lower than the almost 90 percent registered in the most recent local elections of 30 March 2014. Moreover, turnout was also lower than expected among Turkish citizens living abroad who for the first time had the opportunity to vote from third countries. Thus, according to unofficial figures, among the almost 3 million Turks living abroad, only about 232,000 voted, in addition to another 270,000 who voted at the border gates.
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