Ankara: Turkey`s outgoing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has surged into the lead in the country`s first direct presidential election, early vote counts suggest.
After almost half of the votes were counted, Erdogan got 56 percent of the votes, MENA news agency cited Turkish media as saying.
The two other candidates in the fray are diplomat Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas.
Erdogan needs more than 50 percent of the vote for an outright victory, otherwise he will face a second round Aug 24.
Erdogan, 60, said he wanted to turn the largely ceremonial post of the president into the country`s executive powerhouse.
He has been prime minister since 2003 and is barred from standing for that office again.