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Turkey's Erdogan Claims Victory in Presidential Election


Men, holding a banner with a picture of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, celebrate outside his Justice and Development Party, or AKP, headquarters in Istanbul, June 24, 2018.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won the county's presidential election, giving him a new term as the office of president gains more power.

Turkish media said Erdogan won about 53 percent of Sunday's vote. Muharrem Ince of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) was in second place with 31 percent.

WATCH: Election wrap up

Erdogan Victorious in Landmark Turkey Elections
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​A 2017 referendum brought changes to the country's political system, abolishing the office of prime minister, while empowering the president to dismiss parliament and appoint ministers and judges.

"The nation has entrusted me the responsibility of the presidency and the executive duty," Erdogan said in an address.

Erdogan, who has been in power since 2003, is adored by his supporters for his conservative values, vast infrastructure projects and strong security stance. But his critics say he rules with an iron fist and accuse him of corruption and mismanaging the government.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a statement on national television from his official residence in Istanbul, June 24, 2018.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a statement on national television from his official residence in Istanbul, June 24, 2018.

In addition to winning the presidential vote, Erdogan also declared victory in the election for parliament. His Justice and Development Party (AKP) won the most seats, falling short of a majority on its own, but together with the allied Nationalist Movement Party it has a coalition controlling about 343 of the 600 seats.

CHP came in third place with 23 percent of the vote, while the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) was in fourth place with 11 percent.

The elections were originally scheduled for 2019, but after the Turkish currency tanked against the dollar earlier this year, the government announced these snap elections, giving candidates only a couple of months to prepare.

Civic organizations and opposition parties mobilized in unprecedented numbers to monitor Sunday’s elections. Eight international organizations also followed the polls.

Thousands of people celebrate parliamentary election results at HDP headquarters in Diyarbakir, Turkey, June 24, 2018. The pro-Kurdish party came in above the threshold to make it into parliament. (H. Kamer/VOA Turkish)
Thousands of people celebrate parliamentary election results at HDP headquarters in Diyarbakir, Turkey, June 24, 2018. The pro-Kurdish party came in above the threshold to make it into parliament. (H. Kamer/VOA Turkish)

In the last few days, though, dozens of accredited electoral observers from the pro-Kurdish HDP were detained under anti-terrorism laws. On Saturday, 11 more HDP observers were held in the capital Ankara, on suspicion of planning a "provocative action" during voting, according to the official state news agency. The elections were held under emergency rule, which gives security forces broad powers to detain.

Outgoing Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also attacked international monitors on Saturday, accusing some of them of having a hidden agenda. "We believe that this is not correct. We think that it means intervention in the elections in one way or another," he said.

Days ahead of the election the state news agency published a story claiming international monitors were planning to create discord in the country by spreading false allegations over voter irregularities, and two international monitors were refused entry into Turkey.

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