President Erdogan, ruling party build early lead in Turkey elections

Turks to decide on Erdogan this Sunday

With about half of votes counted in the presidential race, Erdogan had 57 percent, well ahead of his closest rival, Muharrem Ince, of the main opposition, secularist Republican People's Party (CHP), on 29 percent, broadcasters said. 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. Fear will continue to reign.

Turkish President and leader of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) Recep Tayyip Erdogan (2ndR) and his wife Emine Erdogan (R) leave after casting their ballots at a polling station during snap twin Turkish presidential and parliamentary elections, in Istanbul, on June 24, 2018.

Polls across the country officially closed at 5 p.m. local time in the elections where previously divided opposition parties have come together in a tenuous alliance in an effort to end what they call Erdogan's march toward "one-man rule".

However the opposition raised doubts about the accuracy and reliability of the figures released by state-run Anadolu news agency, the sole distributor of the official vote tally. "If Ince wins, the courts will be independent", said Ince, adding he would lift Turkey's state of emergency within 48 hours of being elected.

Shock moment parents snatch baby from priest after he SLAPS crying child
The priest then tries to pacify the baby by hugging him, but the father has seen enough and wrestles him away as the video ends. Internet users are confused, anxious and appalled at the priest's actions, with one person writing, "That was uncalled for".

As the voting process concludes for 56 million voters in key Turkish elections, citizens have rushed to ballot boxes for the counting of votes more than ever, having been alerted for weeks by civil society groups founded to monitor and intervene in possible election fraud and irregularities.

President Recep Erdogan has since the attempted coup acted to reassert his position and his power, including through the imposition of emergency law that enables him to pass legislation without parliamentary scrutiny or intervention from the judiciary.

In the opposition camp, the CHP had 22 percent and the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) 10.3 percent, crucially above the 10 percent threshold needed to enter parliament.

Meanwhile, Turkey's election board said on June 24 that it was investigating complaints of alleged election safety breaches in the mainly Kurdish southeastern province of Sanliurfa.

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Erdogan cast his vote in a poll station in Istanbul with his wife, the first lady Emine Erdogan.

But in a situation labelled as blatant unfairness by activists, the HDP's presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtas has campaigned from a prison cell after his November 2016 arrest on charges of links to outlawed Kurdish militants.

Mr. Erdogan blamed the coup on his former ally, USA -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. All we want is a fair competition. "Rights are violated, democracy is in bad shape", said health sector worker Sema, 50, after voting in Istanbul. If that happens it could cost Erdogan's AKP and its nationalist ally in the "People Alliance" dozens of seats - leading it to lose its parliamentary majority.

Nor is Erdoğan's continued rule as president secure, as the opposition may succeed in forcing him into a run-off against their front-runner candidate Muharrem Ince on July 8.

OPEC sees strong oil market, possible need for more output
Some OPEC members back increasing output by the lower end of the 300,000 to 600,000 barrel a day range, one of the people said. Both countries have spare production capacity and raising output even at lower prices would yield significant returns.

In Suruc, the scene of deadly clashes between CHP and AKP suppoters 10 days before the vote, Tezcan said "armed people" were "running around openly and threatening the electoral atmosphere".

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