Erdogan wins twin elections
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won a new five-year term after securing outright victory in the first round of the presidential election.
State media reports put Erdogan on 53 per cent with his closest rival, Muharrem Ince, on 31 per cent.
There were another four candidates on the presidential ballot, none of whom appeared to have won more than 8.4 per cent of the vote.
Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its allied Nationalist Movement Party retained their majority in a parliament that is being removed of many of its powers.
Voter turnout was nearly 87 per cent.
The opposition said it would continue its democratic fight “whatever the result” and cast doubt on the results.
The polls were the most competitive in many years with Erdogan, 64, set to assume extended powers under a new executive presidency enshrined in a divisive referendum in April last year.
The strongman leader has built up a solid support base among religious, working-class Turks by investing in health care, education and infrastructure.
Erdogan has also jailed around 160,000 perceived opponents.
The lira, which has lost approximately 20 per cent of its value this year, rallied around 2 per cent in early trading while stocks surged nearly 4 per cent as investors decided the result would lead to political stability.
Erdogan told the polarised nation from the balcony of his party’s headquarters in Ankara: “The winner of this election is each and every individual among my 81 million citizens.
In true populist fashion, he continued: “The winners of the June 24 elections are Turkey, the Turkish nation, sufferers of our region and all oppressed in the world.
“Turkey has decided to take the side of growth, development, investment, enrichment and a reputable, honourable and influential country in all areas in the world.”
Under the 2017 constitution, the job of prime minister will be scrapped with Erdogan facing few checks or balances.
Erdogan says he will be empowered to address Turkey’s economic troubles, like the tumbling lira. and defeat Kurdish rebels in the southeast.
He said he would act more firmly against “terror” groups and “liberate Syrian lands” so refugees could return home.
Erdogan had earlier claimed victory in Istanbul: “I would like to congratulate our nation once again. This has been another test of democracy and we have passed this test successfully.”
Erdogan has an extensive support base among working-class Turks but has divided the country as he has become increasingly dictatorial. Picture credit: Wikimedia