Turkey votes in pivotal test for Erdogan

Turkey votes in pivotal test for Erdogan

(AP Photo) Turkey's President and leader of ruling Justice and Development Party Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters from his Tarabya Palace in Istanbul, late Sunday, June 24, 2018.

In parliamentary elections held simultaneously with the presidential poll, Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) won 42.5 percent, falling short of a parliamentary majority.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is preparing to extend his rule and take on new powers after his victory in elections on Sunday.

However the opposition raised doubts about the accuracy and reliability of the figures released by state-run Anadolu news agency, the sole distributor of the official vote tally.

But he reckoned without Muharrem Ince, the presidential candidate of the secularist Republican People's Party (CHP), whose feisty performance at campaign rallies has galvanized Turkey's long-demoralized and divided opposition. In the immediate aftermath of the election result, the lira strengthened against the dollar, but in the longer term it will take tighter policies to avoid its downward trajectory.

Erdogan continues to receive congratulatory messages, which began even before the completion of the vote count on Sunday.

Burcu, a 29-year-old shopkeeper in Istanbul who declined to provide his last name, told ABC News he voted for Ince and is suspicious of the official results. Erdogan may be facing rough times ahead, however, because analysts predict an economic downturn for Turkey amid rising inflation and a struggling currency.

It is in this Anatolian heartland that Erdogan still inspires impassioned support from people who share his Islamic conservative beliefs and credit him for bringing Turkey to greater economic prosperity and respect.

In a series of Twitter postings, Demirtas praised the party's success in winning a projected 67 seats out of 600, according to unofficial results.

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Other presidential candidates include Selahattin Demirtas, leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party (HDP), who is now in jail on terrorism-related charges that he denies.

"The restrictions we have seen on fundamental freedoms have had an impact on these elections". While Erdogan's opponents said they would send refugees back to their country, Erdogan did not.

Recep Erdogan has been the country's de facto leader since 2002, holding the position of president since 2014.

The shift will give Erdogan more power in his next term, abolishing the prime minister's post, and eliminating numerous checks and balances created to help parliament protect against the misuse of presidential powers. The E.U. Council will discuss relations with Turkey later this week, balancing the need for collective action on migration flows with concern about democratic backsliding. "Yes, they did. But did they steal 10 million votes? No".

The CHP said it had recorded violations in particular in the southeastern province of Sanliurfa, although Erdogan insisted, after voting himself, there was no major problem.

The president told crowds in Ankara in the early hours of Monday morning: "This election's victor is democracy, this election's victory is national will".

With the promises made by opposition candidates during the election campaign, Erdoğan has also promised a prosperous new Turkey, a high-quality democracy where the rule of law would be the norm.

Following the failed coup, Turkey has been under a state of emergency for almost two years and has seen a widespread crackdown on alleged supporters of Gulen.

One of the accelerators of that erosion was the failed coup attempt in the summer of 2016, which gave Erdogan the opportunity to crack down severely on dissent in the military, the universities, the judiciary, and in the press.

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