Turks Begin Voting in Presidential, Parliamentary Elections

Turkey election: Polls close as Erdogan seeks second term

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed victory for his ruling AK Party in Turkey's presidential and parliamentary elections, overcoming the biggest electoral challenge to their rule in a decade and a half.

Margaritis Schinas was speaking during a daily press briefing in Brussels after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won an absolute majority in Turkey's presidential election on Sunday.

"This election's victor is democracy, this election's victory is national will", Mr Erdogan told a cheering crowd outside his party headquarters in Ankara early Monday, adding that Turkey "will look at its future with so much more trust than it did this morning".

Erdogan, 64, the most popular - yet divisive - leader in modern Turkish history, told jubilant, flag-waving supporters there would be no retreat from his drive to transform Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member and, at least nominally, a candidate to join the European Union.

The presidential and parliamentary elections, held more than a year early, complete Nato-member Turkey's transition from a parliamentary system of government to a presidential one.

Declaring victory, he told supporters: "Turkey has given a lesson in democracy to the entire world".

Ince, however, said on Monday that he accepted the results and would call Erdogan to congratulate him.

The AKP won 293 seats in the 600 MP chamber but the MHP did far better than expected, winning 50 seats and giving their alliance a clear majority, according to the results published by Anadolu. Under a new constitution agreed in an April 2017 referendum strongly backed by Erdogan the President can exclusively take a decision without even a prime minister's approval.

"Turkey has cut off its ties with democratic values".




With Erdogan polling 52.6 per cent against his 30.6 per cent, Ince acknowledged that the Turkish strongman had won over 10 million more votes than him.

Mr Erdogan argues the new powers will better enable him to tackle the nation's economic problems - the lira has lost 20 per cent against the United States dollar this year - and deal with Kurdish rebels in southeast Turkey and in neighbouring Iraq and Syria. The HDP's presidential candidate, Selahattin Demirtas, campaigned from a prison cell, where he is detained on terrorism charges he denies.

Ince vowed to "continue our fight until Turkey is a Turkey for everyone", expressing alarm over the powers Erdogan assumes under the new system which he described as "a one-man regime".

Turkey's election commission has already said it will investigate alleged irregularities in Urfa province, on the southern border with Syria.

Ince called on Erdogan to "be everyone's president, embrace everyone".

This might have made it harder for Mr Erdogan's party and its ally the MHP to reach a majority, although now they are on course to do so.

According to Skynews, on Saturday, up to a million people turned out for one of the last opposition campaign rallies ahead of Sunday's elections. Mr. Erdoğan has said he will soon lift the state of emergency.

Erdogan has faced backlash around the world over human rights abuses, especially after a failed coup attempt in 2016 that led to a crackdown under his rule on journalists, academics and civil servants.

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