Erdogan, seeking to cement presidential powers, leading in Turkey's vote count

Turks to decide on Erdogan this Sunday

Voters go to the polls in elections in Turkey

Voters in Turkey on June 24 cast ballots in presidential and parliamentary elections that were seen as a test of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's grip on power after more than 15 years of increasingly authoritarian rule.

The CHP said it had recorded violations in particular in the southeastern province of Sanliurfa, although Erdogan insisted there was no major problem. The second phase is the transparent counting and recording of the votes in each ballot box and conveying the results to the local stations without any intervention in the sealed vote bags.

The HDP passing the threshold is key for the opposition: Forecasts show that without them in parliament, the AKP and their junior coalition partner, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), would once again win the majority of seats.

Voting already closed last week for Turkish citizens resident overseas, with just under 1.5 million out of just over 3 million registered voters casting their ballot, a turnout of just under 49 percent.

Six candidates, including Erdogan, are competing for the presidency.

A woman votes at a polling station in a school during elections in Istanbul, Turkey, June 24, 2018.

State-run Anadolu news agency said "legal action" had been launched in the southeast against 10 foreigners - French, German and Italian citizens - who identified themselves as election monitors but did not have accreditation.

The votes of Turkey's Kurdish minority will be especially crucial in the parliamentary poll.

The elections will also usher in a powerful new executive presidency long sought by Erdogan and backed by a small majority of Turks in a 2017 referendum.

Around 531,007 security personnel, including 264,526 police officers, 195,695 gendarmerie officers, 50,793 village guards and 19,993 voluntary village guards were on duty.

Almost 60 million Turks, including more than 3 million expatriates, are eligible to vote in the elections for the presidency and for 600 parliamentary seats.

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Erdogan won the last presidential election in 2014 after completing two terms as prime minister.

His rivals, the Republican People's Party (CHP) candidate Muharrem Ince and the Iyi (Good) Party candidate Meral Aksener, also cast their votes in the cities they had registered in.

"God willing, Turkey will start flying with this system".

"Turkey is staging a democratic revolution", he told reporters in the polling station.

Turkey held Sunday's elections under a state of emergency declared after a failed military coup in July 2016.

Ince sent a message on Twitter in response to the alleged violence, urging his supporters not to lose hope in the face of the security issues and to cast their votes.

By order of the Supreme Election Council (YSK), all campaigning and opinion broadcasts ahead of Sunday's presidential and parliamentary elections ended as of 6 p.m. local time (1500 GMT) on Saturday.

The HDP's presidential candidate, Selahattin Demirtas, has waged his campaign from a prison near the Greek border as he awaits trial on terrorism-related charges, which he denies.

Still, Erdogan - who has been in power since 2003 - is facing a more robust, united opposition this time.

Some 1.49 million expatriates voted in a 13-day period between June 7-19 at 123 Turkish missions overseas.

Balloting at customs gates that began on June 7 and will end on June 24. As is customary in Turkey on polling days, sales of alcohol in shops are also prohibited.

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