Turkey elections: Tayyip Erdogan wins presidential race


Supporters of Turkey's President and ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan light flares during celebrations outside the party headquarters in Istanbul, June 24, 2018.

Erdogan, who secured a new five-year term as President on the first round of voting on Sunday, re-enters office with a vast array of new powers at his disposal, following a narrowly-won constitutional referendum last year.

Final results are still set to be published by the Supreme Election Board (YSK) later this week, but early on Monday chairman Sadi Guven declared Erdogan victor.

However the opposition raised doubts about the accuracy and reliability of the figures released by state-run Anadolu news agency, the sole distributor of the official vote tally.

"According to unofficial results, the outcome of the elections is clear".

Unlike Erdogan's success, his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) lost its majority in the 600-seat assembly by claiming 295 seats, according to the unofficial results.

Ince, a 54-year-old former physics teacher, is backed by the center-left opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP. The results pegged turnout at a remarkable 87 percent. Overall, the report was rather damning, with observers noting they felt unsafe at times, but the government is unlikely to care.

Erdogan, who has been in power since 2003, has faced a more robust, united opposition than ever before.

While NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg congratulated Erdogan, he stressed that the alliance "was based on some core values: democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty".

"The upheavals in the Near and Middle East and the resulting flows of refugees affect our two states substantially", she said, adding that Turkey had shown "great responsibility" during the crisis.

Ever since the 2002 founding of the AK Party, the CHP's share of the vote had never passed 26 percent.

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The pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party, or HDP, was edging past the 10 percent threshold to enter parliament, with 10.15 percent.

Ibrahim said Erdogan's victory was also a victory for the Muslim world "in portraying a modern and progressive face of Islam".

"Any rally could quickly go into reverse if President Erdogan uses his strengthened position to pursue looser fiscal and monetary policy, as we fear is likely", said Jason Tuvey, senior emerging markets economist at Capital Economics.

Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, the head of Jerusalem's Supreme Islamic Authority and the imam of the iconic Al-Aqsa Mosque, said Sunday's election results was the reaffirmation of the Turkish people's trust in President Erdogan.

While Ince was ahead in eight provinces mainly in western Turkey and pro-Kurdish candidate Selahattin Demirtas won in 10 provinces in the southeast, the 63 other provinces including the entire heart of the country was for Erdogan.

Turks were voting Sunday in dual parliamentary and presidential polls seen as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan s toughest election test, with the opposition revitalised and his popularity at risk from growing economic troubles. "The presidential election is certainly going to a second round".

Among those elected to parliament for the HDP was Ahmet Sik, an investigative journalist who spent time in jail over alleged terror links.

In April, Erdogan called the snap elections, bringing forward a vote that was expected to be held in November 2019.

Turkey has been under emergency rule, which restricts some personal freedoms and allows the government to bypass parliament with emergency decrees, for almost two years following an attempted military coup in July 2016.

The president's supporters say the new system will make Turkey safer and stronger.

Some 50,000 people have been arrested and more than 110,000 civil servants have been fired in a massive government crackdown that has taken place under a state of emergency imposed after the coup that is still in place.