Erdogan wins re-election in Turkish polls Photogallery

28 June, 2018, 01:16 | Author: Sheri Evans
  • Erdogan confirmed winner of Turkey election that brings sweeping new powers

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan celebrated a sweeping re-election victory after a hard-fought campaign that proved to be his most challenging political battle after almost 15 years in power.

The Turkish president's abhorrence of high-interest rates and efforts to apply pressure to the central bank to keep the interest rates low has at times led to market trepidations and currency decline.

US President Donald Trump congratulated his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his success in Sunday's presidential and parliamentary elections, according to Turkey's presidential press office on Tuesday.

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. Under a new constitution agreed in an April 2017 referendum strongly backed by Erdogan the President can exclusively take a decision without even a prime minister's approval.

Voter turnout on Sunday was high at around 87 percent, according to state broadcast reports, as the divisive election gave transformative new powers for the victor.

"Turkey has given a lesson in democracy to the entire world", he added, pointing to a turnout of 88 percent.

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But Ince, who had faced limited airtime on television in the campaign and a near boycott by state media, said the run-up to the election had been unfair.

"If I were to speak to officials in Brussels, a few years back I would have said to them 'where were you, where were you?' referring to the early years, but now I think I would tell them that this is a global pattern, rising populism is a global pattern and people in Europe have just begun to experience how maddening it is, so imagine us, 16 years, trying to survive in these conditions".

But under a new constitution, Mr Erdogan could seek office again after 2023 and, if successful, could stay as Turkey's undisputed leader until 2028.

He's governed the country under a state of emergency since a coup attempt in 2016 and Mr Erdogan now enjoys overwhelmingly favourable media coverage after he closed critical media outlets or had his supporters take them over.

Conceding defeat, Ince warned that constitutional changes ushered in by Erdogan earlier in the year represented a threat to the country's democracy.

The state-run Anadolu news agency said that, based on unofficial results, the AK Party and its MHP ally would hold 343 seats in the 600-seat parliament - 293 of those for the AKP and 50 for the nationalists. "There were votes played with, our friends who saw this fought against this..."

Erdogan confirmed victor of Turkey election that brings sweeping new powers
Erdogan's closest contender, Muharrem Ince of the secular opposition Republican People's Party, won 30.7 per cent support. Turnout in the presidential election was nearly 88 percent, according to the figures published by Anadolu.

It, however, said voters had a genuine choice during what was a "vibrant" campaign in "a highly polarized political environment".

Erdogan had called surprise snap elections in April, 19 months ahead of schedule, in a move that analysts said was meant to catch the opposition off guard.

The jailed candidate Selahattin Demirtas of pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) got around 8.3 percent, while Meral Aksener, the only female presidential candidate in the race, had 7.4 percent of votes.

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci also congratulated Mr Erdogan in a tweet, adding: "Looking forward to our continued good cooperation".

"There is no stopping for us until we bring Turkey, which we saved from plotters, coupists and political and economic hit men, street gangs and terrorist organizations, to among the top 10 economies in the world", Erdogan said. Erdogan's main opponent, Muharrem Ince, admitted defeat, but called the vote "unjust".

The European Union and United States were keeping a close eye on the poll and trans-Atlantic security body the OSCE was due to deliver its verdict on the election later Monday.

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