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Erdogan declares victory in Turkish polls as opposition cries foul

Erdogan declares victory in Turkish polls as opposition cries foul

The White House said Monday that it is working to set up a phone call between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his US counterpart Donald Trump to "reaffirm the strong bond" between the two countries following the Turkish president's election victory.

Erdogan garnered 52.6 per cent of the vote, according to unofficial results.

Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling AK Party took a comfortable lead in Turkey's presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday, according to preliminary partial results, boosting the president's hopes of extending his 15-year rule.

Mr Erdogan was declared Turkey's president by electoral board chairman Sadi Guven, who said he won a majority based on 99.9 percent of counted votes.

Addressing supporters from the Justice and Development Party or AKP headquarters in the nation's capital hours after his victory, Erdogan claimed Turkey's 81 million residents were the winners of the hotly contested election, state run media Anadolu reported.

Mr Erdogan's main challenger was 54-year-old former physics teacher Muharrem Ince, who was backed by the centre-left main opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, and wooed crowds with an unexpectedly engaging election campaign.

The outcome of this election once again demonstrates that Erdogan's strategy of polarizing the electorate works.

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.

Thousands of jubilant supporters of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party, or HDP, also spilled into the streets of the predominantly Kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakir after unofficial results from Anadolu showed the party coming in third with 11.5 percent of the legislative vote - surpassing the 10 percent threshold needed to enter parliament. "We will fight even more with the strength you provided us with this election", Erdogan said in his victory speech in the capital, Ankara.

She was referring to Erdogan´s victory speech in which he said the nearly 90 percent voter turnout "taught the entire world a democracy lesson".

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"Turkey is staging a democratic revolution", Erdogan told reporters in the polling station in Istanbul where he voted on June 24.

Erdogan's Justice and Development Party fell short of a parliamentary majority but a better-than-expected performance by its nationalist ally would allow the party to control the 600-seat legislature.

Turkish voters had for the first time cast ballots for both president and parliament in the snap polls.

Under the new system, the office of prime minister is abolished, parliament's powers curtailed and the president is accorded wide-ranging executive authority. But supporters love Erdogan for bringing economic growth and security.

After 80 percent of ballots from Turks eligible to vote in Germany were counted, Erdogan had won 65.7 percent of them, officials said.

"We want democracy", he said. That, coupled with high inflation rates and fears that the central bank's independence will be further reduced, has left global investors uneasy after Erdogan's victory.

But the opposition has lambasted the uneven nature of the poll, which saw state-controlled television ignore Ince's giant rally in Istanbul on the eve of the election. Ince has reportedly secured just 31 percent, despite enormous popular rallies and a seemingly galvanized opposition movement in the lead-up to election day.

Turkey held Sunday's elections under a state of emergency declared after a failed military coup in July 2016. A state of emergency imposed after the coup remains in place.

As Turkey's democracy backslides, its European Union accession seems ever further away; however, Turkey will not want to lose European Union investment and trade and the West will not sacrifice the geostrategic importance of the country so relations, although perhaps strained, seem set to continue.


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