Turkey's Erdogan Wins Presidential Election, Extends 15-Year Reign

An worldwide 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.

In the parliamentary vote, with 88 per cent of ballot boxes counted, according to Anadolu, Erdogan's People's Alliance, which includes his Justice and Development Party, or AKP, and a small nationalist party, stood at 54.4 per cent, while the opposition Nation Alliance grouping together nationalists, secularists and a small Islamic-leaning party, was at 33.7 per cent.

Turkish state news agency Anadolu, the only media distributing election results, reported that the Mr Erdogan easily claimed 52.7 per cent of the vote with more than 96 per cent of the ballots counted.

Though his main opponent-Muharrem Ince of the secularist Republican People's Party (CHP)-has yet to officially concede, it appears Erdogan will now assume the significantly expanded powers he narrowly secured in a referendum previous year. While the outgoing prime minister proudly announced that the election was transparent enough to be a model for other countries, the atmosphere was hardly conducive to a level playing field, considering the opposition's limited access to the media and state resources.

"I hope nobody will damage democracy by casting a shadow on this election and its results to hide their failure", he continued.

On the call Putin and Erdogan confirmed their interest in "deepening partnership ties between the two countries", the Kremlin said, singling out priority projects such as the TurkStream gas pipeline and Turkey's first nuclear power plant being built by Moscow.

A delegation from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) warned on Monday that while voters had a genuine choice in the elections, there had not been an "equal opportunity" for candidates to compete and "a number of attacks and disruptions of campaign activities, mostly against the People's Democratic Party (HDP)". But really, all you need to know about this election is summed up in Erdogan's campaign motto: "A great Turkey needs a strong leader".

Ince also complained that it was an unfair election but accepted Erdogan's victory during a news conference Monday.

Having defeated the twin threats of a reinvigorated opposition and a weakened currency, Erdogan addressed cheering supporters in the capital, Ankara, saying the victor of the election was democracy, the national will and the nation itself.

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He added that the alliance led by the AKP had won the majority in parliament.

The victor will wield sweeping executive powers under a new presidential system, which curbs the authority of parliament and the judiciary and which critics say entrenches one-man rule.

Erdogan counters that view, saying "Turkey is staging a democratic revolution".

Erdogan's supporters took to the streets in Istanbul and other cities in celebration Sunday night. They have said election law changes and fraud allegations in the 2017 referendum raise fears about the fairness of Sunday's elections.

The country's parliamentary system will now become one focused on the office of the president.

"We always vote for our leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan", he said while navigating his cab through traffic.

One of the accelerators of that erosion was the failed coup attempt in the summer of 2016, which gave Erdogan the opportunity to crack down severely on dissent in the military, the universities, the judiciary, and in the press. More than 110,000 government workers have also been dismissed under a state of emergency after the coup. Both Erdogan and Ince have said they will lift the state of emergency as president.

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

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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