President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Turkey has won the presidential electionHe extended his rule for a third decade by defeating opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu in Sunday’s runoff vote.
With 99.43% of votes counted, preliminary official results announced by Turkey’s Supreme Election Council (YSK) on Sunday showed Erdogan won with 52.14% of the vote. Kilicdaroglu got 47.86%.
Before the results were officially announced, Erdogan was singing in celebration atop a campaign bus, taking a victory lap outside his residence in Istanbul. Addressing a crowd of supporters who waved Turkish flags and cheered, he thanked the country.
“We have completed the second round of presidential elections with the support of our nation. “I express my gratitude to my nation for giving us a democracy day,” Erdogan said.
“The winners of both the May 14 elections and the May 28 elections are our 85 million citizens,” he added, referring to both election rounds.
Speaking at his party’s headquarters in the capital Ankara, Klikdaroglu said he would continue to fight until there is “real democracy” in Turkey.
“This is the most unfair election period in our history… We are not succumbing to the climate of fear,” he said. In this election, the will of the people to change the authoritarian government despite all pressures has become clear.
“The difficult days ahead for our country make me very sad,” Kilicdaroglu said.
Foreign leaders including Russia, Qatar, Libya, Algeria, Hungary, Iran and the Palestinian Authority were among the first to congratulate Erdogan.
Erdogan’s supporters gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim Square and chanted his name and “God is great”.
Hundreds of people gathered outside the Istanbul headquarters of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) party after preliminary results showed Erdogan in the lead. Some came with children, others waved flags, honked car horns and set off bonfires and crackers.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, and his wife, Emin Erdogan, cast their votes in Istanbul.
Mehmet Curli, an adviser to Kilicdaroglu, called Erdogan’s election victory a “pyrrhic victory,” accusing the president of fueling tensions during the election.
“President Erdogan seems to have won these elections. But it is wrong to call this success. A pyrrhic victory might be a better word to describe this situation,” Carly said.
Erdogan’s victory over Kilicdaroğlu, a 74-year-old bureaucrat and leader of the leftist CHP, leaves Turkey a deeply divided nation.
“This is not a crushing defeat for those who want change,” Asli Aydintaspas, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, told CNN’s Becky Anderson. “We are once again looking at a divided country … both camps want completely different things for Turkey.”
In the first round of voting on May 14, Erdogan led by nearly five points Above Kilicdaroglu but falling short of the 50% threshold needed to win.
The president’s parliamentary constituency won the majority of seats in the parliamentary contest held that day.
Opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu casts his vote at a polling station in Ankara.
Election officials had earlier said polling was going on “without any problems”.
last week, Third place candidate is Sinon OganThe winner of 5% of the first-round vote has publicly backed Erdogan, further boosting the strongman’s chances of winning Sunday’s second and final presidential round.
Many opinion polls had incorrectly predicted that Kilicdaroglu would lead in the May 14 vote, which saw almost 90% of the vote across the country.
Six opposition groups have formed an unprecedented coalition behind Kilicdaroglu to try to wrest power from Erdogan.
Opposition parties have described the election as the last stand for Turkish democracy, accusing Erdogan of hollowing out the country’s democratic institutions, eroding the power of the judiciary and suppressing dissent during his 20-year rule.
Erdogan also faces headwinds from a faltering economy A traumatic initial response to a catastrophic earthquake On February 6, Turkey and neighboring Syria claimed more than 50,000 lives.
The government admitted its “mistakes” in its rescue operation and apologized to the public.
Erdogan’s critics point to lax construction standards under the leadership of the ruling AK Party, which has fueled a turbocharged construction boom since the early 2000s and high death tolls. They also argued that the earthquake response underscored Erdogan’s alleged withdrawal from state institutions in an effort to consolidate power.
The country’s financial crisis – with the currency falling and prices soaring – has also been partly blamed on Erdogan’s policies. The president suppressed interest rates and left inflation unchecked, critics argued.
Erdogan won the first round, but lost by the margin needed to avoid a runoff.
A Interview with CNN’s Becky Anderson Last week, Erdogan promised to double down on his unconventional economic policies.
He hailed his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin as “special” and said he would continue to block Sweden’s access to NATO, despite Western criticism that he was standing in the way of a united front against Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
Erdogan, who controls the second-largest army in NATO, has accused Sweden of being a haven for Kurdish terrorist groups and has made it a precondition for Stockholm to join in handing over wanted people. Sweden has refused Turkey’s repeated demands to extradite what Ankara describes as terrorists, arguing that only Swedish courts can decide the issue.
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristerson congratulated Erdogan on his victory. “Our common security is a future priority,” he tweeted.
Since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the Turkish strongman has emerged as a major power, adopting an important balancing act between the two sides, widely known as “pro-Ukrainian neutrality.”
He helped broker a major deal Black Sea Grain Corridor Initiative It unlocked millions of tons of wheat trapped in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, averting a global hunger crisis. The contract was extended for another two months last Wednesday, a day before it was due to expire.