Turkey's Erdogan wins presidential election

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's main rival in Sunday's polls on Friday challenged the Turkish strongman in a mass rally in the capital Ankara inviting him for a television debate as a

Turkey's Erdogan wins presidential election

Supporters of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gather in front of the Huber Presidential Palace where he delivered a victory speech.

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.

Erdogan's main rival, Muharrem Ince of the Republican People's Party (CHP), conceded defeat but branded the elections "unjust" and said the presidential system that now takes effect was "very dangerous" because it would lead to one-man rule.

Perhaps the most surprising result from the election was the success of the MHP, who are in a political coalition with the AKP.

Early Monday morning the Supreme Election Council announced Erdogan received the absolute majority in the presidential election with 53 percent of votes after 97.7 percent of ballots had been counted.

Speaking in Istanbul, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged citizens to vote and listed the hospitals and transportation infrastructure as proof of his leadership.

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Erdogan's AKP fell short of a parliamentary majority but a better-than-expected performance by its nationalist ally should allow the party to control the 600-seat legislature.

Erdogan, whose victory was wider than predicted by many analysts, immediately vowed to "rapidly" implement the new presidential system agreed in an April 2017 referendum that opponents fear will give him autocratic powers.

Over 56 million eligible voters can for the first time cast ballots simultaneously in the parliamentary and presidential elections, with Erdogan looking for a first round knockout and an overall majority for his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

"Ince's wit, audacity, ability to poke holes through Erdogan's narrative and connect with Turks beyond the traditional base of his secularist CHP has flustered Erdogan and his team", said Anthony Skinner, head of MENA at Verisk Maplecroft.

Erdogan, who has been in power since 2003, has faced a more robust, united opposition than ever before.

He also praised the high turnout in the elections.

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Mr Ince, who won 30.6% of the presidential vote, warned that Turkey was heading down a path towards autocracy.

She and others in the city said they voted for the pro-Kurdish HDP, hoping it would exceed the 10 per cent threshold of votes needed to enter parliament.

Additionally, as NPR's Peter Kenyon reported, the new system grants Erdogan the possibility of running for a third term "should parliament call snap elections in his final term".

Erdogan is set to the take the helm of a new "super-presidency" which was narrowly approved in a referendum next year. Imprisoned pro-Kurdish People's Democracy Party candidate Selahattin Demirtas garnered about 9.5 of the vote in Germany, compared to 8.3 percent in Turkey. Confident and combative, Ince said "Erdogan you are going!" and called him a "fascist". Videos posted on social media appeared to show people voting in bulk at a ballot box in the town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province.

"It's one thing to be a physics teacher, it's another thing to run a country", Mr Erdogan said.

"Turkey made its choice in favour of a more determined fight against the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) and (Gulenists)", Erdogan said.

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Erdoğan struck a defiant tone in his victory speech early on Monday in Ankara, saying Turkey had set "an example" for the rest of the world, vowing to carry on military campaigns in Syria, fight terror groups and raise Turkey's global prestige. The president imposed emergency two years ago in the wake of the 2016 failed coup.

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