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Turkey’s Erdogan celebrates poll win

Turkey’s Erdogan celebrates poll win

Erdogan transformed Turkey first as PM from 2003 to 2014 and then as president, giving the country a much more assertive profile on the international stage.

Istanbul : President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday celebrated winning five more years in office with sweeping new powers after a decisive election victory, as Turkey’s opposition raised bitter questions over the conduct of the polls.

  A night of triumph for Erdogan saw the man who has dominated Turkey for the last one-and-a-half-decades declared winner of Sunday’s presidential polls without needing a second round and lead his ruling party-led alliance to an overall majority in parliament.
Erdogan, whose victory was wider than predicted by many analysts, immediately vowed to “rapidly” implement the new presidential system agreed in an April 2017 referendum that opponents fear will give him autocratic powers, reports AFP. The president, 64, declared victory in Istanbul before returning to Ankara to deliver a triumphant speech at 3:00 am to tens of thousands of supporters from the balcony of the headquarters of his Justice and Development Party (AKP).

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

His main rival Muharrem Ince of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), who had challenged Erdogan with an energetic campaign and earlier accused the authorities of “manipulation”, maintained an unusual silence after the results were announced but was due to make a statement later on Monday. “Victory in the first round,” trumpeted the headline in the Hurriyet daily. But the pro-opposition BirGun took a different line: “An unfair election,” it said, adding that the way results had been delivered had given rise to “doubts”.

The candidate of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party Selahattin Demirtas came third on 8.4 percent, a position all the more remarkable given he has been jailed on charges of links to Kurdish militants since November 2016.

Nationalist politician Meral Aksener suffered a disappointing night coming fourth on 7.3 percent.

The AKP won 293 seats in the 600 MP chamber but the MHP did far better than expected, winning 50 seats and giving their alliance a clear majority, according to the results published by Anadolu.Congratulations for Erdogan flooded in from Turkey’s partners in the Islamic world and allies who also have tetchy relations with the West, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin who praised Erdogan’s “great political authority”, the Kremlin said.

The European Union and United States were keeping a close eye on the poll.

Erdogan has transformed Turkey first as prime minister from 2003 to 2014 and then as president, allowing Islam a greater role in public life and giving the country a much more assertive profile on the international stage.

By AGENCIES




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