Erdogan claims victory in Turkish presidential election
25 June, 2018, 09:24 | Author: Frank Williams
Turkish state news agency Anadolu, the only media distributing election results, reported that the Mr Erdogan easily claimed 52.7 per cent of the vote with more than 96 per cent of the ballots counted.
With almost 80 percent of the country's ballot boxes counted, Erdogan was at 54.3 percent of the vote, with his main rival Muharrem Ince at 29.9 percent, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared himself the victor of a high-stakes Turkish election, as he looks to consolidate his power on a nation he has ruled for 15 years.
"The unofficial results of the elections have become clear".
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan waves to his supporters in Istanbul, Turkey. If the pro-Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party (HDP) wins seats by polling over the 10 percent minimum threshold, the AKP will struggle to keep its overall majority.
Erdogan, who has ruled Turkey over 15 years as prime minister and president, later addressed a crowd of cheering, flag-waving supporters from the top of a bus in the country's largest city of Istanbul, before taking off to capital, Ankara.
Erdogan, 64, also promised to deliver more of the big infrastructure projects that have characterized his time in power and helped make him the most popular - if also the most divisive - leader of modern Turkish history. Mr Erdogan, who has been in power since 2003, is seeking a new five-year term with vastly increased powers under a new system and his ruling party is hoping to retain its majority in parliament.
In the Kurdish town of Suruc, bloodshed erupted earlier this month between AKP and HDP supporters, killing four people, marring what had otherwise been a largely peaceful election.
Turkey has been under emergency rule since a failed coup attempt in 2016, after which the government launched a sweeping crackdown on opponents and those it said participated in the rebellion.
The presidential election and a parliamentary election also held Sunday, both more than a year early, complete NATO-member Turkey's transition from a parliamentary system of government to a strong presidential system.
Opposition parties and non-governmental organizations say they plan to deploy more than half a million monitors and volunteers at ballot boxes across Turkey on Sunday to prevent fraud.
Electoral board Chairman Sadi Guven said that with more than 97 percent of votes counted, Erdogan had an absolute majority. Turnout was good, President Erdogan said, as is customary in Turkey.
Support among Turks living overseas for the CHP was 18.2 percent, while 8.1 percent of expats voted for the AKP's alliance partner the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), led by Devlet Bahçeli.
The operation, which began on Tuesday, targeted 124 people accused of being followers of US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, CNN Turk said.
"Turkey is staging a democratic revolution", he told reporters in the polling station.
He brought forward the elections from November 2019, but he reckoned without Ince, a former physics teacher and veteran CHP lawmaker, whose feisty performance at campaign rallies has galvanized Turkey's long-demoralised and divided opposition.
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