Turkey marks Erdoğan's victory, start of executive presidency

Turkey marks Erdoğan's victory, start of executive presidency

Turkey marks Erdoğan's victory, start of executive presidency

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan won sweeping new executive powers after his victory in landmark elections that saw his Islamist-rooted AK Party and its nationalist allies secure a majority in parliament.

Electoral officials declared Erdogan the victor of the presidential election.

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.

Sunday's elections in Turkey, called more than a year early, were a gamble by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan spoke of his commitment to fight terrorist organisations and "to continue the fight to make the Syrian grounds freer" and to better the country's "international reputation".

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At a time when Erdogan and his government are drawing harsh criticism from the global community in terms of the downward course of democratic rights in the country and foreign policy disagreements with Western allies, his next steps under the one-man regime will be determinant for the country's worldwide position.

Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev was the first national leader to congratulate the Turkish leader for "his success" in the June 24 presidential elections, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Audrey Glover who headed the OSCE delegation in Turkey, said unbalanced media coverage in favour of Mr Erdogan and his ruling party resulted in voters not being able to "get informed choice".

A count of 99 percent of the votes showed that Erdogan's AKP and the MHP would win 293 and 50 seats respectively, enough for an easy majority in the 600-member chamber.

But Turkey's large current account deficit, double-digit inflation and high external borrowing costs remain the main issues for the new cabinet. It won 23 percent in the new parliament and the pro-Kurdish HDP almost 12 percent, above the 10 percent threshold needed to win seats.

"I accept the results of the election", he told reporters. Last year, he won the referendum to change the parliamentary to a presidential system of government, which will now help him realize his ambitions.

Nationalist politician Meral Aksener, tipped for a breakthrough after founding her new Iyi (Good) Party, suffered a disappointing night coming in fourth with 7.3%. As you might also remember, Mr Erdogan has been supported by western countries especially during his first term in power starting from 2002 and I guess that many people in Turkey would agree with me in the idea that now the opposition should be supported, at least morally, by the European Union and democratic powers in European countries.

Supporters of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) celebrate the results of the Turkish presidential and parliamentary elections, on June 24, 2018 in the mainly-Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, southeastern Turkey. But under the new presidential system, he can do that anyway.

After being declared the victor, Erdogan on June 25 said he would act more decisively against terrorist organizations and would liberate more territory in Syria to allow "our guests" to go home safely, referring to the thousands of Syrian refugees who have fled the bloody seven-year civil war in the Middle East country.

Official voting results will be announced on July 5.

The opposition candidates had pledged to overturn the new powers, which were narrowly passed by referendum a year ago, if they won.

In April 2017, 51 percent of Turkish voters endorsed constitutional changes backed by Erdogan, which grant new executive powers to the president and scrap the post of prime minister.

Merkel underlined the traditionally friendly relations between Berlin and Ankara and also expressed support for stability and democracy in Turkey. Ince, the CHP candidate, obtained 30.6 percent - more than his party has received in decades.

All this raises a couple of important questions: First, why did the United States just sell a bunch of F-35s to Turkey in the face of opposition from Congress?

He instigated a state of emergency after a failed coup against him in 2016, retaliated by eroding judicial independence, and led crackdowns against press freedom.

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