Erdogan claims victory in Turkish election - but opponent disputes, claims manipulation

Supporters at Mr Erdogan's rally

Recep Erdogan has been the country's de facto leader since 2002, holding the position of president since 2014.

Erdogan, the most popular but also divisive leader in modern Turkish history, argues the new powers will better enable him to tackle the nation's economic problems - the lira has lost 20 per cent against the dollar this year - and crush Kurdish rebels in south-east Turkey and in neighbouring Iraq and Syria.

Addressing a rally in Istanbul on Saturday attended by hundreds of thousands of people, Ince promised to reverse what he and opposition parties see as a swing towards authoritarian rule under Erdogan in the country of 81 million people.

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. The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party has 11.2 percent, passing the 10 percent threshold to enter into the assembly.

Incumbent president Recep Tayyip Erdogan will fight for his re-election with five other candidates.

On 16 April 2017 Turkish voters narrowly approved a package of constitutional amendments granting President Erdoğan sweeping new powers. "According to these. I have been entrusted by the nation with the task and duties of the presidency", Erdogan said at his Istanbul residence.

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.

Unluhisarcikli thinks that AKP now needs the continued support of its alliance partner Nationalist Action Party (MHP) for a majority in the Parliament. Erdogan's foes accuse him of dismantling Ataturk's secular legacy by bringing religion back into public life.

With election victory in hand, Erdogan will rule with new muscle provided by sweeping changes to the constitution that were approved by a narrow majority of the electorate in a controversial referendum that he championed past year.

Taking to Twitter, Ince urged voters to wait until the High Electoral Board released official results and later said he would make a statement at noon local time Monday. The results surprised many analysts who had predicted a second round vote and an opposition majority.

The 54-year-old politician criticized Turkey's new system, saying: "Turkey has cut off its links with democracy".

"It is likely that Erdogan and his party will keep cooperating with the MHP, if he wants to keep on implementing the policies he followed in the last few years".

While NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg congratulated Erdogan, he stressed that the alliance "was based on some core values: democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty".

He said: "Mr Erdogan is now an all-powerful man, not just de facto but also formally".

Turkey began European Union membership talks in 2005, but the discussions have been at a standstill in recent years.

There was no word immediate reaction from the United States.

But it was clear before polls opened that the election was being held under unfair conditions, not least given the state of emergency in place since the July 2016 coup attempt, as well as the imprisonment of a presidential candidate on spurious terrorism charges.

In Germany, Sevim Dagdelen, chairwoman of the German-Turkish parliamentary group and an ethnic Kurd, told the dpa news agency that the elections were "neither free nor fair".

"I wanted the results to be certain, that's why I did not come out", he said, admitting he had targeted 35 per cent to help push Erdogan to a second round.

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

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