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Voices from Istanbul: The Turkish election

Many considered Erdogan's election a foregone conclusion but tensions and divisions continue to run high on the streets of Istanbul
Erdogan was elected as Turkey's 12th president on Sunday (AFP)

ISTANBUL - Residents of Istanbul returned to a normal work day Monday, after voting in former Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as the 12th president of the Turkish republic with 51.9 percent of votes on Sunday.

Voters expressed joy and disappointment at the win, but not surprise. Erdogan's win was all but a foregone conclusion in the country, although observers have repeatedly noted that Erdogan's tactics have divided the country between his mostly conservative Muslim supporters, and secular nationalists and leftists.

Erdogan will be sworn in as President, replacing Abdullah Gul, on 28 August. It is not yet known who will replace him as prime minister. 

Serhat Durak, 35, Doner manager, Kasimpasa

Serhat Durak (MEE / Lauren Williams)
Serhat Durak (MEE / Lauren Williams)

My vote is with Demirtas. I wanted to give him the first vote, because I wanted his views to get stronger on the peace settlement. If it had gone to a second vote I would have voted for Erdogn for the same reasons. 

It's true that Erdogan has been successful on the Kurdish peace process. he is the only person who has been powerful enough to make progress. He is determined on the issue, but he has become less sensitive to other voices in society in the last three years.  He has become rude and aggressive towards the others, which I don't like. 

His attitude to the corruption allegations was not transparent. He should have investigated it, but he just rejected the allegations. His plans for the future are very obscure, but I feel like the future is going to be complicated. He will work for himself and his circle. 

Nuran Urdar, 50, housewife, Besiktas

Nuran Urdar (MEE / Lauren Williams)
Nuran Urdar (MEE / Lauren Williams)

It's a very bad result. I hate Erdogan and I love Ataturk. (Shows tattoo on her arm reading: K. Ataturk) Erdogan is anti-Ataturk. Turkey is going down, in terms of economy, in terms of modernising, in trams of religious tolerance. I voted for Ihsanoglu but my vote was only against Erdogan. 

Perihan Sen, 49, cafe owner, Kasimpasa

I support Erdogan. I have always voted for him. I say to myself: 'we got used to him and if someone else gets power, what might change?' Things are fine. I don't iike change.

Turkey has kind of developed in his time. What I appreciate most is that he gives to the poor, helps people in need and there have been benefits to the health system. I don't necessarily benefit from this, but I like that he does help the poor, that's why I want to see him continue. 

When the young people got involved in the protests, they thought he was going to cut all the trees in Gezi Park, but Erdogan had a plan - he was going to plant new trees. 

The park was for alcoholics and junkies. It wasn't a safe place. the young people just didn't want to be disturbed from taking alcohol and that's why they protested.

Ali Celik, 36, Perfumerer, Kasimpasa

Ali Celik (MEE / Lauren Williams)
Ali Celik (MEE / Lauren Williams)

I'm for Erdogan. Erdogan has put Turkey in a much better position in the world. He has brought Turkey back to its real essence, its Ottoman history. It's a republic, yes, but it has Ottoman roots and he's re-establishing it's connections. He's not just working for his own will, or for power and profit. 

Zafer Asiluan, 40, businessman

Zafer Asiluan poses next to a statue of Ataturk (MEE / Lauren Williams)
Zafer Asiluan poses next to a statue of Ataturk (MEE / Lauren Williams)

Erdogan is going to be a radical, aggressive President. The economy was key here, but the country has a real problem with structure. I don't think we have democracy here, even within the parties. The way the leaders are selected is not democratic at all. 

Erdogan has done a lot for the poor people, for Islamists, for the economy… and most people are poor. But I think he's a very arrogant guy, a tough guy, a strong man. 

We were very upset with the choice of Ihsanoglu as candidate for CHP when it was announced. We didn't know him. He was born n Egypt and he's conservative. CHP should have come up with a better candidate.