Erdogan leads in Turkey’s presidential election - preliminary results

According to the Turkish electoral law, Mr Erdogan needs to gain more than half of the votes to beat his competitors.

The new period after the election results is therefore expected to be more Turkey-centered and nationalistic, with a more favorable ground for Russian Federation to pull Ankara on its side against its transatlantic alliances with the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, especially at a time when Turkey wants to buy F-35 jets from the USA and some lawmakers allegedly intend to block the sale.

State news agency Anadolu put Erdogan at 52.5 percent and his closest rival, Muharrem Ince, at 30.6 percent. The post of the prime minister will be abolished, and its powers transferred to Erdogan, who will also have the ability to appoint senior judges, ministers and vice presidents, giving him full control of those who are supposed to check his authority.

In a tweet, Demirtas hailed a "great victory" despite suffering "the biggest injustice of the campaign".

"I hope that Turkey lifts these restrictions as soon as possible."

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a rights watchdog, said high voter turnout, at almost 87 percent, demonstrated Turks' commitment to democracy.

The number one surprise in the parliamentary elections was the strong performance of Erdogan's ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) which some had written off ahead of the polls but whose vote held.

He was always expected to win and take the helm as the inaugural leader of the country's new presidential system, but it had been expected to take at least two rounds of voting.

Audrey Glover who headed the OSCE delegation in Turkey, said unbalanced media coverage in favour of Mr Erdogan and his ruling party resulted in voters not being able to "get informed choice".

Although the head of Turkey's Supreme Election Council, Sadi Guven, confirmed Erdogan's victory he added that the official results will be announced on July 5.

But Monday's transformation of Turkey into a one-man show, all thanks to Mr. Erdogan's exploitation of fear-based populist nationalism, counts as yet one more critical blow to the ideals of liberal democracy.

Ince's opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) had 23 percent.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party candidate Selahattin Demirtas came third with 8.4 percent, a position all the more remarkable given he has been jailed on charges of links to Kurdish militants since November 2016.

The opposition Nation Alliance, which consists of secular CHP, nationalist Good Party and Islamic-leaning Felicity Party, hovered around 33 percent at the parliament. The Turkish lira has eroded from 2.14 to the dollar when Erdoğan was first elected president in August 2014, to 4.68 to the dollar today, and a serious policy response is needed. "According to these. I have been entrusted by the nation with the task and duties of the presidency", Erdogan said at his Istanbul residence.

"The message is clear", he said. Voter turnout for the election was reportedly 87%.

Why did Erdogan hold elections early?

Erdogan, 64, the most popular - yet divisive - leader in modern Turkish history, told jubilant, flag-waving supporters there would be no retreat from his drive to transform Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member and, at least nominally, a candidate to join the European Union. "With the presidential system, Turkey is seriously raising the bar, rising above the level of contemporary civilisations". But democracy and secularism have steadily been eroded under Erdogan. 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".

"If you ask me who I want to be in power in Turkey, I would say I have no idea", said Alaa al-Mashadane, a 29-year-old Syrian from Aleppo living in Turkish-controlled territory in Idlib province.

  • Zachary Reyes