Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday won a tightly contested presidential poll, extending his 15-year grip on power. With 99.2 percent of ballots counted, Erdogan received more than half of the votes required to secure an outright victory.
The elections were of crucial importance because whoever won will also be able to enjoy enhanced powers in addition to that of a president under a new constitutional law agreed in an April 2017 referendum.
Erdogan defeated his nearest rival Muharrem Ince with an "absolute majority" of more than half the vote without needing a second round, said the chief of Turkey's election authority, Sadi Guven. Erdogan won 52.5 per cent in the presidential poll while Ince, of the secular Republican People's Party (CHP), was on 31.5 per cent.
"I have been entrusted by the nation with the task and duties of the presidency," Erdogan said in a victory address at his Istanbul residence, vowing that the new presidential system would be implemented "rapidly".
Erdogan also declared victory for the People's Alliance, a bloc between his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), saying they had won a parliamentary majority in the legislative elections, also held on Sunday.
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.Ince vowed to "continue our fight until Turkey is a Turkey for everyone", expressing alarm over the powers Erdogan assumes under the new system which he described as "a one-man regime".
Meanwhile, prominent world leaders congratulated Erdogan for his stupendous victory. Russian President Vladimir Putin "stressed that the results of the vote fully speak of Recep Tayyip Erdogan's great political authority (and) mass support of the course conducted under his leadership to solve Turkey's pressing social and economic tasks and strengthen the country's position on the international arena".
Offering his congratulations, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that he hoped that bilateral relations ""could further develop based on firm historical, cultural and religious bonds, good neighbourliness, mutual respect and common interests, and close, responsible cooperation between the two countries regarding the developments in the region and the World of Islam to prepare better groundwork for resolving issues and fostering peace and stability, as well as welfare for the peoples of the region".
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg also congratulated Erdogan for the victory but stressed that the alliance was founded on "core values" of democracy, rights, and rule of law.