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Turkey’s incumbent president Recep Tayyip Erdogan failed to secure 50% of the votes in yesterday’s election, heading for a runoff with closest rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu.
This is shaping up to be a tough battle for the Turkish president, who has been in power since 2014. He is still in the lead, according to the latest poll data, but the challenge of winning will be more significant.
According to one Turkish analyst cited by Al Jazeera, both contenders for the top job will now be courting the leader of a right-wing party that surprised with a stronger-than-expected result in the vote.
The analyst added that Erdogan had a better chance of winning the support of the ATA Alliance led by Sinan Ogan, meaning he might still have a better chance of extending his reign.
According to Reuters, his contender, Kemal Kilicdaroglu would put the country on a more democratic, secular path, after years of Erdogan’s increasingly authoritative, religion-heavy rule.
The chances of that appear slim because with 100% of the votes counted, Erdogan got 49.3%, according to the High Elections Board, and Kilicdaroglu had 44.92%.
Another Erdogan win would mean Turkey would continue to pursue its current energy policy, which involves a close partnership with Russia and plans to turn Turkey into a major regional gas hub.
What’s more, Erdogan has big plans for local energy production as well. A massive gas discovery in the Black Sea was about to start deliveries in April and a similarly significant oil discovery was announced earlier this month.
The Sakarya offshore gas field holds an estimated 710 billion cu m of gas and the oil field discovered in southeastern Turkey is estimate to have reserves of as much as 1 billion barrels. State energy company Turkish Petroleum plans to extract 100,000 bpd from that field, which would double Turkey’s current total.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com