Published: Tue, June 26, 2018
Markets | By Jeffery Armstrong

Erdogan Tightens His Grip On Turkey In Early Elections

Erdogan Tightens His Grip On Turkey In Early Elections

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won Turkey's presidential election, the country's electoral board has confirmed.

Erdogan had 52.7 percent of the votes with 96 percent counted followed by Muharrem Ince at 30.8 percent, Selahattin Demirtas at 8.1 percent and Meral Aksener at 7.4 percent, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency news agency.

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 past year. In the immediate aftermath of the election result, the lira strengthened against the dollar, but in the longer term it will take tighter policies to avoid its downward trajectory.

An unexpectedly strong showing by the AK Party's alliance partner, the nationalist MHP, could also mean Erdogan securing the parliamentary majority he seeks to govern freely.

Critics complained about what they say were unequal campaign conditions with Erdogan dominating media coverage in a country that has been named the world's worst jailer of journalists. Ince has reportedly secured just 31 percent, despite enormous popular rallies and a seemingly galvanized opposition movement in the lead-up to election day.

"There are no significant differences between our records and the Supreme Election Council's records", Ince told reporters. The report said they were not accredited to monitor the vote.

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"We will do more for the nation". But, as Turkey moves ever further toward authoritarianism and away from democracy, another question inevitably hovers on the horizon: why is Turkey still a member of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and how long can that last?

"Turkey made its choice in favour of a more determined fight against the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) and (Gulenists)", Erdogan said.

Guven said that based on unofficial results, five parties passed the threshold of 10 percent of votes required for parties to enter parliament. 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".

"The nation has entrusted to me the responsibility of the presidency and the executive duty", the 64-year-old Erdogan said in televised remarks from Istanbul.

The CHP had 21 percent and the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) 9.7 percent.

The initial official results of the Turkish presidential and parliamentary election, held on Sunday, have emerged, signaling an expected win for the incumbent president and his party.

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The CHP said it had recorded violations in particular in the southeastern province of Sanliurfa, although Erdogan insisted, after voting himself, there was no major problem. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) Supporters of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan listen as he addresses them outside his official residence in Istanbul, Sunday, June 24, 2018. Few newspapers or other media openly criticize the government, and he has received far more election coverage than other presidential candidates.

"We will fight even more with the strength you provided us with this election", Erdogan said in his victory speech in the capital, Ankara. If the HDP manages to get into parliament, it could threaten Erdogan's AKP majority, meaning it will need support from another party to approve legislation.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan celebrated a sweeping re-election victory after a hard-fought campaign that proved to be his most challenging political battle after almost 15 years in power.

Tapping in to nationalist fears of outside influences in Turkey after a failed coup in 2016, Erdogan painted his political opponents as traitors to democracy.

"With the presidential system, Turkey is seriously raising the bar, rising above the level of contemporary civilizations", he said.

One of his primary campaign promises was to lift a state of emergency he imposed following the coup attempt.

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