Early election in Turkey
Millions of Turks flocked to vote on Sunday in a parliamentary election seen as crucial to the future direction of the country. Opinion polls show the ruling Islamist-rooted AK Party government winning a fresh five-year mandate. According to the latest polls, the AKP will garner some 40 percent of the vote, well above its 34 percent showing in the previous election.
"Now the people will speak," Sunday's Milliyet daily read.
Turkish television showed long queues forming at the polling stations. Voting is compulsory in Turkey and turnout is expected to be very high. Polling booths close at 4 p.m. (1300 GMT) in east Turkey. In the west, including the capital Ankara, the main commercial city Istanbul and coastal resorts, they will close an hour later, Reuters reported.
Unofficial results are due after 9 p.m. (1800 GMT). Some 43 million Turks out of a population of 74 million can vote.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, 53, Turkey's most popular politician, called the poll months early after the secular elite, including the powerful army, stopped him appointing a fellow ex-Islamist, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, as president.
Erdogan hopes Turkey's strong economic growth and falling inflation will boost AK Party support.