- by cnn
- 22 Sep 2023
A hushed silence fell over the crowd outside the Istanbul headquarters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development (AK) party.
Sullen faces turned to the election count on the large screen - Erdogan's vote had dropped below the 50% threshold needed to clinch the first round of Sunday's historic election.
The celebratory chants, which switched seamlessly between party and religious slogans, came to an abrupt halt, as did the drumbeat.
"We are not used to this. We're used to winning the first round," said 38-year-old Erdogan supporter Umran Ozdwmie. It was 1 a.m. in Istanbul and the street that the party faithful had poured into earlier in the evening was beginning to empty.
Suddenly, it throbbed back to life. Erdogan was to deliver an address from his balcony in the capital Ankara. Word was beginning to spread: the ruling party was bruised but not yet out of the game.
"Our moods might change, but Erdogan's rule won't," said 53-year-old Ismail Boyaci, 53. "We won't ever leave him."
Erdogan praised the election as a "feast of democracy."
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