Investors feeling the jitters ahead of Turkish election

Investors feeling the jitters ahead of Turkish election

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged people to get out and vote.

The polls - for which more than 55 million Turkish voters are registered - will also finalize Turkey's transition to an executive presidency, which was narrowly approved in a contentious election previous year.

More than 56 million people are eligible to vote across the country.

"If the HDP fails to get into parliament, all Turkey will lose".

Voters are flocking to polling centres today to cast ballots in an election that will complete Turkey's transition to a new executive presidential system, a move approved in a controversial referendum a year ago.

The 64-year-old Erdogan called the elections more than a year ahead of schedule in a bid to usher in an executive presidency with sweeping powers.

The vote will be closely watched by the European Union - which Erdogan says he still wants Turkey to join despite the accession process grinding to a halt - and the United States which has seen no improvement in ties with its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally under Donald Trump. Voting began at 8 a.m. (0500 GMT) and will end at 5 p.m. (1400 GMT).

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

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More than 2,300 children have been separated from their parents, and thousands of families are likely to remain fractured. On Wednesday, the president signed an executive order created to end the family-separation policy.

On Saturday police said at least one million people had turned out in Istanbul's Maltepe district to hear Ince promise to reverse - if he wins the presidency - what he sees as Turkey's turn towards more authoritarian rule under Erdogan.

"If Erdogan wins, your phones will continue to be listened to".

"Ince's wit, audacity, ability to poke holes through Erdogan's narrative and connect with Turks beyond the traditional base of his secularist CHP has flustered Erdogan and his team", said Anthony Skinner, head of MENA at Verisk Maplecroft.

Meanwhile, former physics teacher Ince built up a national following with lacerating attacks on Erdogan's rule, bringing up near-taboos like the AKP's past cooperation with the group of Fethullah Gulen blamed for the 2016 failed coup. According to the latest United Nations figures, some 160,000 people have been detained and almost as many more sacked in the crackdown.

"The opposition will not be a nuisance anymore with the new presidential system", said another Erdogan supporter, retired sailor Engin Ozmen, 60. If the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) wins seats by polling over the 10 percent minimum threshold, the AKP will struggle to keep its overall majority.

Polls show Erdogan falling short of a first-round victory in the presidential race but he would be expected to win a run-off on July 8, while his AK Party could lose its parliamentary majority, possibly heralding increased tensions between president and parliament.

The men agreed that their children were too young to "truly remember" the bad days before Mr Erdogan, which is why the younger generation are supporters of the Kurdish HDP.

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