Erdogan: Turkey’s incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims victory in poll

ISTANBUL: Incumbent Turkiye President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared victory in his country’s runoff election, extending his rule into a third decade. In his first comments since the polls closed, Erdoğan she spoke to supporters on a campaign bus outside her home in Istanbul. “I thank every member of our nation for entrusting me with the responsibility of once again governing this country for the next five years,” she said.
He ridiculed his challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, for his defeat, saying “bye bye, Kemal” as fans booed. “The only winner today is Turkiye,” Erdogan said.
Preliminary and unofficial results from Turkish news agencies showed Erdogan ahead with 98 percent of ballots counted in a presidential runoff that will decide whether the country’s longtime leader extends his increasingly authoritarian rule for up to a third decade. State news agency Anadolu showed Erdogan at 52.1%, and his challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, at 47.9%. Meanwhile, the ANKA news agency, close to the opposition, showed the results at 51.9% for Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu at 48.1%. Earlier, the head of the High Electoral Council said in a press conference that Erdogan was ahead of Kilicdaroglu with 54.47% approval, with 54.6% of the polls registered.
In Istanbul, Erdogan’s supporters began celebrating even before the final results arrived, waving Turkish or ruling party flags and honking horns. There was no immediate response to Erdogan’s victory speech from his challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu.
Erdogan, who has been at the helm of Turkiye for 20 years, was favored to win a new five-year term in the second-round ballot, after coming close to winning an overall first-round win on May 14. points ahead of Kilicdaroglu, the candidate of a six-party alliance. Erdogan’s performance came despite crippling inflation and the aftermath of a devastating one earthquake three months ago. It was the first time he hadn’t won an election in which he ran.
If he wins officially, Erdogan, 69, could stay in power until 2028. A devout Muslim, he heads the conservative and religious Justice and Development Party, or AKP. Erdogan transformed the presidency from a largely ceremonial role to a powerful office in a narrowly won 2017 referendum that demolished Turkiye’s parliamentary system of government. He was the first directly elected president in 2014 and won the 2018 election that inaugurated the executive presidency.
The result could have implications far beyond Ankara. Turkiye is located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia and plays a key role in NATO. Erdogan’s government vetoed Sweden’s bid to join NATO and bought Russian missile defense systems, which prompted the US to oust Turkiye from a US-led fighter jet project. But it also helped broker a crucial deal that allowed shipments of Ukrainian grain and averted a global food crisis.
The two candidates offered starkly different visions of the country’s future and its recent past. Erdogan, head of the Islamist-led AK Party, has appealed to voters with nationalist and conservative rhetoric during a controversial campaign that has diverted attention from deep-seated economic problems. The defeat of Kilicdaroglu, who promised to start the country on a more democratic and collaborative path, would likely have been cheered in Moscow, but will mourn in Western capitals and much of Western Asia after Turkiye takes a more confrontational stance and independent in foreign affairs.
Critics blame Erdogan’s unconventional economic policies for skyrocketing inflation that has fueled a cost-of-living crisis. Many have also criticized his government for a slow response to the earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people.
But Erdogan has retained the support of conservative voters who remain devoted to him for raising the profile of Islam in Turkiye, which was founded on secular principles, and for increasing the country’s influence in world politics. ap


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