Top 5 oddities in Turkey’s presidential election
A voter in Erdoğan's constituency holds a pen that was handed out for free during Erdoğan's Istanbul mayoral campaign in the 1990s. Emine Er showed the pencil to Anadolu Agency's correspondent during celebrations following Erdoğan's presidential victory on Aug. 11. (Photo: Bülent Doruk / Anadolu Agency)
1) Uncle Mehmet, ‘the 130-year-old voter’
Turkey’s semi-official Anadolu Agency (AA) claimed in a report that the world’s oldest person showed up to vote in the election on Aug. 10, 130-year-old Mehmet Esen from the eastern province of Siirt. However, Esen’s birth record shows that he was born on May 24, 1329 in the old Rumi calendar, corresponding to June 6, 1913 in today’s Gregorian calendar. So, Esen is actually 101 years old.
2) Erdoğan’s son almost fell from the balcony
Bilal Erdoğan, the youngest son of Turkey’s president-elect, stumbled and almost fell from the balcony, minutes before his father’s much-anticipated victory speech in front of his party headquarters. Berat Albayrak, the president-elect’s son-in-law, was on hand to help Bilal back to his feet.
3) Votes for musicians, footballers
More than 700,000 votes were declared invalid, with many cast for people who were not among the three candidates. A voter in the western province of Bilecik glued a photo of Zeki Müren, the legendary Turkish musician, to the ballot, writing some of his lyrics by adapting them to include a rhyming pro-Gezi message: “Here is me, confronting TOMAs (riot control vehicles), Zeki Müren.”
Others voted for Demba Ba, the new star signing of Istanbul football club Beşiktaş, as well as the late Necmettin Erbakan, a former prime minister who once mentored Erdoğan.
4) Erdoğan gets 96 percent of votes in one district
96 percent of voters in the Sincik district of the eastern province of Adıyaman voted for Erdoğan, thus breaking a record. Erdoğan received 8,500 votes out of a total of 8,800 in Sincik, outstripping even Güneysu, his hometown in the Black Sea province of Rize, where he received 92 percent of the votes.
5) The Kyrgyz President in Erdoğan’s victory rally
The president of Kyrgyzstan, Almazbek Atambayev, gave a fiery speech during Erdoğan’s victory rally. Leading agencies mentioned Atambayev’s presence at the rally, but did not report his short speech in Turkish, in which he stated:
“Turkey is not like it was in the past. I’d like to remind you that 12 years ago there was a Turkey that was weak, that couldn’t even find debtors, that couldn’t set the agenda itself. Today there is a Turkey that is strong, helping others, becoming a creditor. Long live, Turkey! These are the results of the reforms that were done in the past 12 years. Its chief leader is Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Dear brothers, sisters; God protect Turkey and God give it unity and stability. Everybody should respect the decision of the nation. The people chose its president itself and it is Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.”