Erdoğan Declares Victory In Turkey’s Presidential Election

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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Incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared victory Sunday evening in Turkey’s presidential election, but the votes are still coming in.

“The unofficial results of the elections have become clear. According to these … I have been entrusted by the nation with the task and duties of the presidency,” Erdoğan said Sunday in an official statement at his home in Istanbul. “I hope nobody will damage democracy by casting a shadow on this election and its results to hide their failure.”

Erdoğan also claimed that the governing alliance led by his AK Party, also known as the Justice and Development Party, had secured a majority in parliament.

The opposition argues that his announcement is premature, as some of the ballots have not yet been counted. With 95.5 percent of the votes counted, Erdoğan had 52.72 percent of the national vote. Muharrem İnce, his main opponent out of the six candidates on the ballot, had only 30.75 percent, the BBC reported, citing Turkish state media.

Opposition forces, who cried foul as results from pro-Erdoğan areas were reportedly made public early, are determined to upset the status quo and restructure the presidential system. Many critics of the existing leadership claim that the election was an uneven playing field from the start, as the government has a great deal of control over the domestic press and law enforcement.

Erdoğan and his AK Party have ruled unopposed for nearly 16 years. He served as prime minister for 11 years before becoming president in 2014. If the results hold, Erdoğan will rule under a new constitution with new presidential powers, such as the ability to issue decrees with the force of law and directly appoint senior officials.

Voter turnout was a substantial 87 percent.

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