Two persons died and 23 were injured today, climaxing the bloodiest election in Turkey's history.
As Turks went to the polls, fights with guns, knives and fists were reported from several other provinces despite the presence of steel-helmeted troops armed with submachine guns.
Early unofficial returns from urban areas showed the moderately leftist Republican People's Party of Bulent Ecevit leading its main rival, the conservative Justice Party, 2-to-1 with about 5 per cent of the vote tallied.
Observers cautioned that the Justice Party, led by Prime Minister Suleiman Demirel, could narrow the margin considerably when the traditionally conservative regions of eastern Turkey report. Complete results were not expected until Monday.
Ecevit's Republican Peoples Party shares with the army the mantle of the secular, progressive policies of Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, and was favored to win the election.
Opinion is divided, however, over whether Ecevit will be able to secure a majority in the 450-seat National Assembly and break the political deadlock that has hampered the government of Turkey for the past four years.
Few Turks relish a repetition of the 1973 elections, in which no politcial party won a clear mandate.
The stalemate led to a series of squibbling, patchwork coalitions, a general breakdown of law and order and an economic decline. It also left Turkey's foreign relations in disarray.
More tha 200 people have died in political violence during the past two years.
Unemployment exceeds 13 per cent, inflation 20 per cent, and Turkey does not have enough hard currency to pay its overseas debts.
The United States cut military aid to Turkey because the Turks invaded Cyprus. The European Economic Community has balked on steps toward granting Turkey full membership.
Additionally, Turkey is locked in a bitter dispute with neighboring Greece over oil drilling rights in the Aegean Sea.
The consensus here is that only a strong government can get Turkey out of its current difficulties.
The Turks are deeply divided, however over who should rule, and the month-long campaign for the election - held three months early in an attempt to end months early in an attempt to end the violence - has resulted in even more violence.
Twelve persons were killed during the campaign, and party leaders have been shot at and stoned repeatedly.
Ecevit, who favors a more independent policy for traditionally pro-Western Turkey, has borne the brunt of the attacks.
Ignoring a possible assassination attempt Friday, he drew a record crowd of about 150,000 in Istanbul.
The turnout contrasted sharply with that for Ecevit's chief opponent, Prime Minister Demirel, who drew a mere 10,000 supporters two days before.
Demirel's Justice Party has ruled in coalition with three other rightist groups for the past tow years. Ecevit blames the primeminister for the present chaos.
Demirel, who was educated in the United States and has strong pro-Western tendencies, charges that Ecevit is soft on communism.
In addition to the two main parties, six smaller parties - ranging from the pro-moslem National Salvation Party and the neo-fascist National Action Party on the right to the Turkish Workers Party on the left - are also competing. Among them, they have fielded more than 3,000 candidates.
Uppermost in most Turks' minds this election day is the question of law and order, and issue which has dominated all others in the campaign.
On this, Ecevit, on paper, has a far better record than Demirel. Statistics show that not a single person died in political violence during Ecevit's nine months in office in 1974, compared with the 200 killed under Demirel.