Politicians cast their votes
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli (R), Istanbul’s incumbent mayor, Kadir Topbaş, and his wife Özleyiş (C), and BDP Şanlıurfa candidate Osamn Baydemir cast their votes.For one day, politicians have mingled with their electors, waiting in line to cast their votes just like any other citizen.
The most prompt leader to vote was Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli, who voted as usual at the Anıttepe Primary school in Ankara. “According to the information we got, the participation is quite high. Hopefully the results will be auspicious,” Bahçeli told reporters after voting.
Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek voted in Ankara’s Gölbaşı district while President Abdullah Gül was expected to cast his vote in Ankara’s Çankaya Primary school, where Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel is also due to vote.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose government has drawn unprecedented criticism on the eve of local elections, has voted near his home in Üsküdar. “Despite all the unwanted statements and speeches at rallies until now, our people will give the final verdict today. What the people say is what it is,” Erdoğan said, while noting that there would be a high rate of participation. “All the things that have been said will now only be history,” he added.
Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, for his part, called on electors “to cast votes consulting their conscience,” after voting in Ankara. “Our democracy needs to be strengthened, it needs to be cleaned. I trust my people’s wisdom. I hope that results will be favorable,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Peoples' Democracy Party (HDP) co-chair Ertuğrul Kürkçü, for his part, has voted in Istanbul’s Cihangir neighborhood. For his part, HDP’s Istanbul co-candidate, Sırrı Süreyya Önder, did not vote in the city he contended, but in his own Ankara constituency. "I live in Ankara and I didn't move my register to Istanbul intentionally, as I wanted to support socialist candidate Salman Kaya in Ankara against nationalist candidates."
Among the contenders, Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş, running for a third term, voted in Bakırköy’s Murat Koluk primary school along with his wife and son.
Topbaş’s main rival, Mustafa Sarıgül, voted in his constituency of Şişli, where he is also the outgoing mayor. “Istanbul needs peace, love, tolerance and brotherhood. I will defend the rights of not only those who vote for me, but also those who don’t vote for me,” Sarıgül told reporters. “They have hurt me a lot during the election campaign. But despite being hurt, I haven’t hurt anyone."
The CHP’s Ankara candidate, Mansur Yavaş, challenging the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) incumbent mayor, Melih Gökçek, was also among the early voters.
The Peace and Democracy Party’s (BDP) outgoing Diyarbakır mayor, Osman Baydemir, voted in Şanlıurfa, where he is challenging the AKP, which currently holds the mayoralty.