Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims victory in Turkey's presidential election

GETTYErdogan and his opposition Muharrem Ince

GETTYErdogan and his opposition Muharrem Ince

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday won the presidential poll in the first round, said the country's election authority chief.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday declared victory in Turkey's presidential election after unofficial results showed that he had won 52.6 percent of the vote.

State media also reported on Sunday that Erdogan's AK Party holds 43 percent, while the opposition party holds 23 percent of the vote, with 96 percent of the total vote counted.

"This election was unjust until the results were announced", he told a news conference at CHP headquarters. As of Monday morning he had not conceded the election and urged election observers not to leave ballot boxes.

The head of Turkey's electoral board, Sadi Guven, said the election had been "healthy" and results would be opened for public scrutiny in 10 days.

"We respect the decision of Turkish voters and look forward to a constructive relationship with President Erdogan as we jointly confront common challenges", said a State Department spokeswoman who declined to be identified by name. The lira has fallen more than 18% this year against the United States dollar as investors watched Erdogan attack the central bank's independence, suggesting that high interest rates stoke, rather than tame, inflation. Worse, Selahattin Demirtas, leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party, campaigned from his prison cell.

President Hussain also expressed the hope that Turkey would continue on the path of progress and prosperity under the leadership of president Erdogan.

Erdogan reiterated his commitment to "fight terroristic organisations", "to continue the fight to make the Syrian grounds freer" and to increase the "international prestige" of Turkey, saying: "Turkey has no moment to waste, we know that".

"If he wins, I think the obstacles before us will disappear and we will have control", said Nesrin Cuha, 37, a call center worker, who wore a headscarf.

Russian President Vladimir Putin personally congratulated Erdogan in a telephone call.

Having defeated the twin threats of a reinvigorated opposition and a weakened currency, Erdogan addressed cheering supporters in the capital, Ankara, saying the victor of the election was democracy, the national will and the nation itself.

"The opposition will not be a nuisance anymore with the new presidential system", said another Erdogan supporter, retired sailor Engin Ozmen, 60.

The vote will complete Turkey's transition from a parliamentary to a new executive presidential system, a move approved in a referendum past year. They have said election law changes and fraud allegations in the 2017 referendum raise fears about the fairness of Sunday's elections.

With Turkey holding parliamentary and presidential elections on the same day for the first time, Erdogan was also able to enjoy an overall majority in parliament with the help of his allies from the right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

"We want democracy", he said.

"If Erdogan stays in power, the results will be catastrophic", said Ayse Yildirim, 46, who said she voted for the HDP. Of course, Erdogan's election is being questioned by members of the opposition parties, which all banded together to try to bring him down, to no avail. 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.

Under Erdogan, the government has presided over a far-reaching crackdown on dissidents, activists and the media, jailing journalists and opposition leaders, and shuttering independent news outlets. A state of emergency imposed after the coup remains in place.

Luxembourg's foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, noted on Monday it is now up to Erdogan to decide whether Turkey's relations with the European Union will improve.

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