Erdogan claims victory in Turkish presidential election | world news

Erdogan claims victory in Turkey's presidential election (Image: Getty)

Erdogan claims victory in Turkey’s presidential election (Image: Getty)

Incumbent Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared his country’s runoff election as the winner, extending his rule into a third decade.

In his first comments since the polls closed, Mr Erdogan spoke to supporters on a campaign bus outside his home in Istanbul.

“I thank every member of our nation for entrusting me with the responsibility of once again leading this country for the next five years,” he said.

He mocked his challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu for his loss and said “Bye, bye, Kemal” while the fans booed.

Supporters of Erdogan’s AK Party gathered outside the President’s headquarters to chant slogans and celebrate his victory (Image: Shutterstock)

“The only winner today is Turkey,” said Erdogan.

With almost 99% of the ballot boxes open, unofficial results from competing news outlets showed that Mr Erdogan received 52% of the vote, compared to 48% for his challenger, Mr Kilicdaroglu.

Competing news outlets source their data from completed ballot box counts collected by field staff and have a strong presence in different regions, which explains some of the differences in the preliminary data.

Turkey’s electoral board transmits its own data to political parties throughout the vote count, but only announces the official results days later.

Mr Erdogan, who has led Turkey for 20 years, was selected as a candidate for a new five-year term in the second-round runoff after narrowly missing outright victory in the first round on May 14.

In Istanbul, Erdogan supporters began celebrating even before the end result was known, waving Turkish or ruling party flags and honking car horns.

Erdogan’s re-election could have repercussions far beyond Ankara. Turkey is at the crossroads between Europe and Asia and plays a key role in NATO.

Erdogan has been in power for almost 20 years (Image: Getty)

The Turkish government had previously vetoed Sweden’s NATO entry and bought Russian missile defense systems, prompting the US to oust Turkey from a US-led fighter jet project.

But it also helped broker a crucial deal that enabled Ukrainian grain shipments and averted a global food crisis.

Mr Erdogan’s performance came despite crippling inflation and the effects of a devastating earthquake three months ago. It was the first time he did not win an election in which he was a candidate.

The two candidates offered completely different ideas about the country’s future and its recent past.

“This election took place under very difficult circumstances, there was all sorts of slander and defamation,” 74-year-old Kilicdaroglu told reporters after casting his ballot.

“But I trust people’s common sense.” “Democracy will come, freedom will come, people will be able to walk the streets and freely criticize politicians.”

Speaking to reporters after casting his ballot at a school in Istanbul, Mr Erdogan noted that it was the first presidential runoff in Turkey’s history.

He also praised the high turnout in the first round and said he expected turnout to be high again on Sunday. He voted at the same time as Mr Kilicdaroglu as local television showed the rivals’ voting on split screens.

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Justin Scaccy

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