Unofficial results show that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won reelection on Sunday, extending his increasingly authoritarian reign into a third decade as the nation struggles with rising inflation and the fallout from an earthquake that destroyed entire cities.
Erdogan would have an even stronger position with a third term, both domestically and internationally, and the election outcomes would have an impact much beyond Ankara.
Turkey is an important member of NATO and is located at the intersection of Europe and Asia.
Results from opposing news agencies showed Erdogan with 52% of the vote, compared to Kemal Kilicdaroglu’s 48%, after over 99% of the ballot boxes had been opened.
Erdogan thanked the country for giving him the opportunity to serve as president for another five years in his first remarks following the polls closing.
He spoke to supporters on a campaign bus outside his Istanbul house, saying, “We hope to be worthy of your trust, as we have been for 21 years.”
As his supporters booed, he called his opponent “bye bye bye, Kemal,” making fun of him for losing.
Erdogan asserted that Turkey was the only winner today and vowed to fight hard for the country’s second century.
This year, the nation celebrates its centenary. “No one can belittle our country.”
The election, according to Kilicdaroglu, was “the most unjust ever,” with all available state resources being used to support Erdogan.
In Ankara, he declared, “We will remain at the vanguard of this movement until real democracy comes to our nation.
He expressed his gratitude to the more than 25 million voters and urged them to “remain upright.”
Despite all the pressures, the people have demonstrated their willingness “to change an authoritarian government,” he said.
Gunfire was heard in numerous Istanbul areas as Erdogan’s supporters celebrated even before the final results were announced,
waving Turkish or governing party flags, honking cars, and screaming “in the name of God, God is great.”