Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won another term, securing a majority according to official results announced by Turkish state media. The elections are the first held under a new system which gives the president expansive powers.
Erdogan won an “absolute majority” of votes, the head of the Supreme Election Council, Sadi Guven, confirmed early on June 25, after the opposition cast doubt over the election results.
“Our people have given us the job of carrying out the presidential and executive posts,” Erdogan said on television from Istanbul before heading to Ankara to address party supporters. “I hope nobody will try to cast a shadow on the results and harm democracy in order to hide their own failure.”
As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, the snap elections called by Erdogan were the first time Turkish voters went to the polls for parliamentary and presidential elections following an April 2017 referendum that approved changing Turkey from a parliamentary to presidential system.
The new system gives the president expansive powers that critics and the West say sound the death knell for Turkish democracy.
However, there are reports of voting irregularities. Election monitors in the southeastern province of Sanliurfa were kept away from polling stations with “blows, threats and attacks,” according to Bulent Tezcan, spokesman for the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) spokesman Thomas Rymer told DW that 320 OSCE election observers are actively monitoring the voting process. Rhymer said the organisation will provide an initial assessment of the situation on June 25.
In a separate report, CNN noted that Erdogan has sailed through several elections to become Turkey’s longest-serving leader. He has dominated Turkish politics since his rise as prime minister in 2003 and has transformed the nation.
Erdogan implemented policies that encouraged sustained economic growth and development, he challenged Turkey’s secular foundations by bringing Islamic conservatism to public life and he gutted public institutions by having tens of thousands of people — many of them his critics — arrested following a failed military coup in 2016.