Turkey appears headed for runoff in presidential race as Erdogan performs better than expected

A person walks past billboards of Turkish President and People's Alliance's presidential candidate Recep Tayyip Erdogan a day after the presidential election day, in Istanbul, Monday. [AP]

Turkey's presidential elections appeared headed for a runoff Monday, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pulling ahead of his chief challenger, but falling short of an outright victory that would extend his increasingly authoritarian rule into a third decade.

The vote was being closely watched to see if the strategically located NATO country - which has a coast on the Black Sea to the north, and neighbors Iran, Iraq and Syria to the south - remains under the president's firm grip or can embark on a more democratic course envisioned by his main rival, Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

While Erdogan has governed for 20 years, opinion polls had suggested that run could be coming to end amid economic turmoil, a cost-of-living crisis and criticism over the government's response to a February earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people. Western nations and foreign investors were...

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