Turkey's Erdogan wins sweeping new powers after election victory

Jun 26, 2018, 03:05
Turkey's Erdogan wins sweeping new powers after election victory

An global election watchdog has criticized the conditions under which the Turkish election was fought, saying they were skewed in favor of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his party.

Russian President Vladimir Putin "stressed that the results of the vote fully speak of Recep Tayyip Erdogan´s great political authority (and) mass support of the course conducted under his leadership to solve Turkey´s pressing social and economic tasks (and) strengthen the country´s position on the worldwide arena", the Kremlin said.

Turkey's strongman leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan has secured another term as the country's president after winning a majority of votes in Sunday's presidential election, according to the state news Andalou Agency.

Erdogan won 52.7 percent in Turkish presidential election after 96 percent of votes were counted in Turkey on June 24.

Mr Erdogan's main rival, Muharrem Ince of the Republican People's Party (CHP), conceded defeat but branded the elections "unjust" and said the presidential system that now takes effect was "very dangerous" because it would lead to one-man rule.

Erdogan continues to receive congratulatory messages, which began even before the completion of the vote count on Sunday.

The outcome of this election once again demonstrates that Erdogan's strategy of polarizing the electorate works.

Earlier on Sunday, a crowd of Erdogan's supporters chanted his name as he emerged from a school after voting in Turkey's largest city Istanbul, shaking hands with people amid tight security. If the HDP exceeds the 10 percent threshold of votes needed to enter parliament, it will be harder for the AKP to get a majority.

The HDP's presidential candidate, Selahattin Demirtas, waged his election campaign from a prison near the Greek border as he awaits trial on terrorism-related charges, which he denies.

Mr Erdogan polled almost 53% in the most fiercely fought election in years.

"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. While Erdogan's opponents said they would send refugees back to their country, Erdogan did not.

In an address to thousands of supporters in Ankara, Erdogan said that democracy was the victor and that Turkey was "an example for the rest of the world", The Guardian reported.

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

Under the new system, the office of prime minister is abolished, parliament's powers curtailed and the president is accorded wide-ranging executive authority.

An unexpectedly strong showing by the AK Party's alliance partner, the nationalist MHP, could translate into a stable parliamentary majority Erdogan seeks to govern freely. They have said election law changes and fraud allegations in the 2017 referendum raise fears about the fairness of the ballots.

The CHP said it had recorded violations in the southeastern province of Sanliurfa. The E.U. Council will discuss relations with Turkey later this week, balancing the need for collective action on migration flows with concern about democratic backsliding. There are several problems to face: the decline of the Turkish lira, a massive 12 per cent rate of inflation and the perception that Erdogan is curtailing the central bank's independence.

But in the end, İnce's appeals led to a performance that showed he was more popular than his own party, the CHP, but was not enough to force a second-round runoff with Erdoğan.

Turkey has been under a state of emergency since a failed coup in July 2016, with 107,000 public servants and soldiers dismissed from their jobs.

The president's critics, including the European Union, which Turkey still nominally aspires to join, say Erdogan has used the crackdown to stifle dissent.