Monday, June 25, 2018

Erdogan Declared Winner In Turkish Election, Cementing Grip on Power



Erdogan declared winner in Turkish vote, cementing grip on power



 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won tightly-contested presidential polls, the election authority said Monday, extending his 15-year grip on power as the opposition complained bitterly about the conduct of the vote count.
Turkish voters had for the first time cast ballots for both president and parliament in the snap polls, with Erdogan looking for a first round knockout and an overall majority for his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The stakes were particularly high as the new president will be the first to enjoy enhanced powers, without even a prime minister, under a new constitution agreed in an April 2017 referendum strongly backed by Erdogan but which opponents say grants autocratic powers.

Erdogan defeated his nearest rival Muharrem Ince with an “absolute majority” of more than half the vote without needing a second round, said the chief of Turkey’s election authority, Sadi Guven.
“I have been entrusted by the nation with the task and duties of the presidency,” Erdogan said in a victory address at his Istanbul residence.
“Turkey has given a lesson in democracy to the entire world,” he added, pointing to an 88 percent turnout.
Erdogan won 52.5 percent in the presidential poll while Ince, of the secular Republican People’s Party (CHP), was on 31.5 percent, state-run Anadolu news agency said, based on a 99 percent vote count.
Celebrations erupted outside Erdogan’s residence in Istanbul and AKP headquarters in Ankara, with crowds of flag-waving supporters, AFP correspondents said.
Hamas leader Ismail Hanieyh also called Erdogan to congratulate him, according to a statement from the Palestinian terror group, which counts the Turkish leader as a strong ally.

Erdogan also warned anyone against casting doubt on the results: “I hope nobody will harm our country’s democracy by casting a shadow on the election system and its results in order to disguise their failure.”











* New powerful presidency comes into effect after polls
* Lira strengthens slightly on unofficial results
* Turkey faces growing economic woes, security threats (Adds opposition party comment, updates currency trading)

Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling AK Party claimed victory in Turkey's presidential and parliamentary polls on Sunday, overcoming the biggest electoral challenge to their rule in a decade and a half.
The main opposition party did not immediately concede defeat. But after initially saying Erdogan would fall well short of a first-round victory, it said it would continue its democratic struggle "whatever the result".
Erdogan, 64, the most popular but also the most divisive politician in modern Turkish history, later waved to cheering, flag-waving supporters from the top of a bus in Istanbul.
Sunday's vote ushers in a powerful new executive presidency long sought by Erdogan and backed by a small majority of Turks in a 2017 referendum. Critics say it will further erode democracy in the NATO member state and entrench one-man rule.
An unexpectedly strong showing by the AK Party's alliance partner, the nationalist MHP, could translate into the stable parliamentary majority that Erdogan seeks in order to govern freely.
"This sets the stage for speeding up reforms," Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek tweeted of the results.
Turkey held Sunday's elections under a state of emergency declared after a failed military coup in July 2016 that Erdogan blamed on his former ally, U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.
It limits some freedoms and allows the government to bypass parliament with decrees, although Erdogan says he will soon lift the measure.
Since the coup attempt, Erdogan has waged a sweeping crackdown on Gulen's followers in Turkey, detaining some 160,000 people, according to the United Nations.

Critics, including the European Union, which Turkey still nominally aspires to join, say Erdogan has used the crackdown to stifle dissent. He says his tough measures are needed to safeguard national security. (Reporting by Ece Toksabay and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Additional reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, Orhan Coskun, Gulsen Solaker, Ali Kucukgocmen, Nevzat Devranoglu, Ezgi Erkoyun, Can Sezer, David Dolan, Daren Butler and Dominic Evans; Writing by Gareth Jones; Editing by Jon Boyle and Peter Cooney)









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