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Erdogan claims victory in Turkey presidential election

Turkey's long-standing leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed victory in his country's presidential election.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

As well as the presidency, voters are also choosing members of parliament Photo: AFP

Mr Erdogan the most popular, and divisive, leader in recent Turkish history, said there would be no turning back from where he and the Islamist-rooted AK Party had brought the economy.

"Our people have given us the job of carrying out the presidential and executive posts," he said in a short speech from Istanbul.

"I hope nobody will try to cast a shadow on the results and harm democracy in order to hide their own failure."

State media earlier reported Mr Erdogan was on 53 percent, and his closest rival, Muharrem Ince, had 30 percent, with 91 percent of votes counted.

Gaining more than 50 percent of the overall vote, would avoid the need for a second round of voting.

As well as the presidency, voters are also choosing members of parliament. Mr Erdogan's party is ahead in that poll.

With 88 percent of the votes for parliament counted, the president's AK Party leads with 43 percent of the votes, the state news agency Anadolu reports. The main opposition CHP is on 22 percent.

Voter turnout is high at almost 87 percent, the state broadcaster says.

Mr Erdogan's opponent accused the state news agency of being manipulative by releasing results from pro-Erdogan areas first.

And, as the BBC's Selin Girit points out, there was a substantial difference between Mr Erdogan's lead as reported by Anadolu and other monitors:

Turkey remains under a state of emergency imposed in the aftermath of a failed coup in July 2016.

These elections were originally scheduled for November 2019 but were brought forward by Mr Erdogan.

In second term as president, Mr Erdogan would govern under a new constitution which grants the president new powers.

Mr Erdogan was prime minister for 11 years before becoming president in 2014.

Mr Ince has promised to push back what he characterised as a slide into authoritarian rule under Mr Erdogan, should he win.

But his opponent accused the former physics teacher of not having the skills to lead.

Around 60 million Turks were eligible to take part in Sunday's dual polls.

As well as Mr Erdogan and Mr Ince, there are four candidates on the ballot.

One has to hit the 50 percent threshold in an outright win, or the top two will face off in a second-round vote on 8 July.
Is the vote fair?

There was high security at polling stations and ahead of the vote concerns were raised about potential voter intimidation and electoral fraud.

Turkey's election commission has already said it will investigate alleged irregularities in Urfa province, on the southern border with Syria.

Rights activists also say the press is not free to report on all sides.

Under Mr Erdogan's rule, the country has become the world's biggest jailer of journalists, according to monitoring groups.
What effect will the new constitution have?

While the other candidates have rejected the changes, endorsed in endorsed in a tight referendum last year by 51 percent of voters, Mr Erdogan would start his second term in a turbo-charged version of the job.

The job of prime minister would be scrapped and the president would gain new powers including the ability to directly appoint senior officials.
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Erdogan claims victory in Turkey presidential election Reviewed by Chidinma C Amadi on 10:43 PM Rating: 5

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