Turkey: President Erdogan Wins New Term in 1st Round

Election posters show Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan left and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

Image Election posters show President Erdogan left and Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk right

President Tayyip Erdogan and his main challenger, Muharrem Ince, made a final push for support at rival rallies in Istanbul on Saturday, a day before presidential and parliamentary elections widely viewed as the most crucial in Turkey for decades.

Two votes are being held on Sunday - one to choose Turkey's next president, and another to pick members of parliament.

With 98 percent of votes counted, Erdogan secured 52.5 percent on Sunday, according to results released by state-run Anadolu Agency.

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan declared victory in elections on Sunday, citing what he said was a public mandate for him and the alliance led by his ruling AK Party.

Speaking to reporters in front of the High Electoral Board (YSK), Ince warned members of the YSK to "do your job the right way" and not leave their stations without signed results. "I hope nobody will damage democracy by casting a shadow on this election and its results to hide their failure".

The president's critics, including the European Union which Turkey still nominally aspires to join, say Erdogan has used the crackdown to stifle dissent. By contrast, the overwhelming majority of global media outlets misled their audiences into thinking that the opposition could force a second round in the presidential election and win the majority of seats in Turkish Parliament.

While Mr Erdogan met crowds of cheering supporters, the opposition has cried foul, claiming that state media and the election commission manipulated the results.

Almost 60 million Turks, including more than 3 million expatriates, are eligible to vote in the elections for the presidency and for 600 parliamentary seats.

Following the failed coup, Turkey has been under a state of emergency for almost two years and has seen a widespread crackdown on alleged supporters of Gulen.

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The victor of the presidential race is set to assume extraordinary new powers narrowly approved in a referendum past year that was marred by allegations of fraud.

The CHP said it had recorded violations in particular in the southeastern province of Sanliurfa. Opposition candidates had vowed to return Turkey to a parliamentary democracy with strong checks and balances and have decried what they call Erdogan's "one-man rule".

"With the presidential system, Turkey is seriously raising the bar, rising above the level of contemporary civilisations".

Another person who could siphon of votes from Erdogan is the only female candidate, Meral Aksener of the lyi, the Good Party.

In another incident, a mass brawl broke out when scours of citizens voted in bulk at polling station in Suruc.

With 96 percent of votes counted in the presidential race, Erdogan had 53 percent, comfortably ahead of Ince on 31 percent, broadcasters said.

Mr Ince jumped over the required 10 percent of votes to gain seats in parliament.

But he reckoned without Mr Ince, a former physics teacher and veteran CHP lawmaker, whose feisty performance at campaign rallies has galvanised Turkey's long-demoralised and divided opposition.

The state of emergency has been in place since July 2016 following a failed deadly coup blamed by the government on the movement of Fethullah Gulen, a US-based self-exiled religious leader.

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