The head of Turkey’s election board has declared President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the winner of the country’s historic runoff vote, extending his presidency until 2028.
“Based on provisional results, it has been determined that Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been elected president,” Supreme Election Council Chairman Ahmet Yener was quoted as saying by Anadolu state news agency on Sunday.
He added that Erdogan has won presidency by securing 52.14% of the votes, after 99.43% of ballot boxes were opened.
Erdogan’s rival, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, received 47.86% of the votes, Yener said, adding that with a gap of more than 2 million votes between candidates the rest of the uncounted votes will not change the result.
Yener had said in an earlier statement that the election was not marred by any voting irregularities and fraud.
Anadolu agency put the voter turnout at about 85 percent.
This came after earlier on Sunday, Erdogan declared his victory in the runoff election, thanking Turkish voters for giving him a mandate to govern the country for the next five years.
Speaking from atop a bus in his home district in Istanbul on Sunday evening, Erdogan thanked the Turkish nation for voting and said he won the runoff vote against Kilicdaroglu with their support.
The runoff was held after both Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu failed to secure more than 50 percent of the votes required for an outright victory in the first round on May 14.
Erdogan had asked his supporters “to stay at the ballot boxes until results are finalized,” saying through a tweet, “Now is the time to protect the will of the people which we hold in the highest esteem.”
Erdogan calls for unity, says Turkey and democracy winners of election
After his election win was confirmed, Erdogan called for “unity and solidarity,” as he addressed his supporters in an early Monday speech.
“We should come together in unity and solidarity,” he told the crowd that gathered outside the presidential palace in Ankara, adding, “We call for this with all our heart.”
“We are not the only winners. The winner is Turkey, the winner is our democracy,” he said.
“I thank every single one of our people who once again gave us the responsibility to govern the country five more years,” he noted, pledging to leave all disputes behind and unite the nation behind national values and dreams.
Erdogan also touched on the country’s economic situation. While saying inflation was Turkey’s most urgent issue, he promised that his government’s new policy will cause inflation rate to fall.
“We are designing an economy focused on investment and employment, with a finance management team that has international reputation,” he added.
Kilicdaroglu expresses ‘real sadness’
Meanwhile, Kilicdaroglu expressed “real sadness” about the country’s future, after Erdogan declared victory.
“My real sadness is about the difficulties awaiting the country,” he said in his first public remarks after the election.
He called the election process the most unfair in years.
“All the means of the state were mobilized for one political party and laid at the feet of one man,” the CHP leader said.
He added, “I would like to thank the heads of the Nation Alliance, their organizations, our voters, and the citizens who protected the ballot boxes and fought against these immoral and unlawful pressures.”
“As a person of this land, I have always fought for your rights and justice, so that no one oppresses you, so that you can live in abundance, and I will continue to do so,” Kilicdaroglu also said.
IYI Party leader congratulates Erdogan
Turkey’s opposition nationalist IYI Party leader Meral Aksener congratulated Erdogan for his victory but said she would continue on her path as the opposition.
Speaking in Ankara, Aksener said the results showed that there is a big lesson Erdogan needs to learn, adding that she hopes he acts like the president of all Turks.
She expressed disappointment in Erdogan’s victory speech in Istanbul in which he criticized Kilicdaroglu.
Erdogan’s supporters gathered at his Istanbul residence in anticipation of victory, chanting Allahu Akbar, or God is Greatest.
“I expect everything to become better,” said Nisa, 28, who was wearing a headband with Erdogan’s name.
Putin congratulates Erdogan
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday congratulated Erdogan on his re-election.
“Your victory in these elections is the logical result of your dedicated work as head of the Turkish Republic, a clear evidence of the Turkish people’s support for your efforts to strengthen state sovereignty and pursue an independent, foreign policy,” Putin said, according to the Kremlin website.
“We highly appreciate your personal contribution to the strengthening of friendly Russian-Turkish relations and mutually beneficial cooperation in various areas,” Putin added.
Hamas congratulate Erdogan on election win
Palestinian Hamas resistance movement also extended its sincere congratulations to Erdogan on winning Turkey’s presidential runoff and a new term in office.
The movement said Turkey’s president also grained his people’s renewed confidence in his ability to lead the country to further progress, stability and prosperity.
The movement expressed hope that Erdogan’s historic victory would be a new starting point for Turkey to strengthen its Arab and Islamic relations.
Heads of EU Council, Commission congratulate Erdogan
President of the European Council Charles Michel and the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen have sent congratulatory messages to Erdogan on winning the Sunday’s runoff vote.
“Congratulations @RTErdogan for your reelection as President of TÃ¼rkiye. I look forward to working with you again to deepen EU-TR relations in the years to come,” Michel said in a tweet.
Von der Leyen also tweeted her congratulations, saying, “I look forward to continue building the EU-TÃ¼rkiye relationship. It is of strategic importance for both the EU and TÃ¼rkiye to work on advancing this relationship, for the benefit of our people.”
The polls opened at 8 a.m. local time (0500 GMT) and closed at 5 p.m. (1400 GMT) on Sunday, with more than 64 million Turks reported eligible to vote at nearly 192,000 polling stations, including more than six million who were first-time voters on May 14.
Millions of voters went to the polls in the first round to elect the country’s president and members of its 600-seat parliament, with Erdogan’s AKP winning a majority against the opposition’s six-party Nation alliance in parliament.
The overall turnout in the first round was 87.04 percent, of which 49.5 percent of the ballots went to Erdogan and 44.9 percent were cast in favor of Kilicdaroglu.
The 69-year-old incumbent president defied opinion polls and came out comfortably ahead with an almost five-point lead over his 74-year-old rival on May 14, but he fell just short of the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff.
Kilicdaroglu, a former civil servant who is the candidate of a six-party opposition alliance, leads the Republican People’s Party (CHP) created by Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
Over the last week, Erdogan received the endorsement of nationalist candidate Sinan Ogan, who came third with 5.2 percent support in the initial vote and was eliminated.
A closely-watched survey, carried out on May 20-21 by national pollster Konda, put support for Erdogan at 52.7 percent and Kilicdaroglu at 47.3 percent for the runoff.
Billed as Turkey’s most important election in recent history, Sunday’s vote will decide not only who leads Turkey but also how it is governed amid an economic crisis that saw the national currency plunging to one-tenth of its value against the dollar in a decade. Turkey’s inflation topped 85 percent in October last year.