Turkish President Erdoğan Wins Reelection

The president is facing a more robust and united opposition this time, one that has vowed to return Turkey to a parliamentary democracy with strong checks and balances and decried what it calls Erdogan's "one-man rule".

Opposition parties and non-governmental organizations say they plan to deploy more than half a million monitors and volunteers at ballot boxes across Turkey on Sunday to prevent fraud.

Regardless, Erdogan proudly addressed supporters from his Justice and Development Party's (AKP) headquarters in the capital Ankara early Monday morning, telling them: "The victor of this election is each and every individual among my 81 million citizens", and lauding the "lessons in democracy" Turkey had given to the rest of the world.

The head of Turkey's Supreme Election Council, Sadi Guven, declared Erdogan the victor early Monday after 97.7 of votes had been counted.

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

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.

Erdogan, whose mastery of political rhetoric is acknowledged even by critics, has won a dozen elections but is now fighting against the backdrop of increasing economic woes.

In an address to thousands of supporters in Ankara, Erdogan said that democracy was the victor and that Turkey was "an example for the rest of the world", The Guardian reported.

The HDP's presidential candidate, Selahattin Demirtas, has waged his campaign from a prison near the Greek border as he awaits trial on terrorism-related charges, which he denies.

Also Monday, Kosovo President Hashim Thaci congratulated Erdogan in a tweet, adding: "Looking forward to our continued good cooperation".

Mat Nashed, reporting for The National from Diyarbakir, says there is heavy security presence around each school that has turned into a polling station.

If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of votes on June 24, a run-off will be held on July 8 between the two best-performing candidates.

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

The 64-year-old Erdogan called the elections more than a year ahead of schedule in a bid to usher in an executive presidency with sweeping powers.

Ince told the crowd that if he wins, "it will not just be Ince who wins.80 million people will win!"

And Bülent Tezcan, the vice-chairman of the Republican People's Party, which opposes Erdoğan, said the president's celebration was premature.

Votes were cast in 180,065 polling places across the country.

Erdogan has faced backlash around the world over human rights abuses, especially after a failed coup attempt in 2016 that led to a crackdown under his rule on journalists, academics and civil servants.

When a ceasefire with Kurdish militants collapsed in 2015 he quickly revived Turkey's long war with the Kurdish Workers' Party, wining over nationalists to recover control in Parliament after a rare loss.

  • Eleanor Harrison