Outgoing Turkish PM wins presidential election




BY BBC

Outgoing Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won his country’s first direct presidential election, provisional results show.

With almost all votes counted, Erdogan had won about 52 per cent, against 38 per cent for his main rival, officials said. He said the people had “shown their will”.

Before the election Erdogan said he wanted to strengthen Turkey’s largely ceremonial presidency.

He is revered by supporters for boosting the economy.

But his critics lament his authoritarian approach and Islamist leanings in a secular state, says the BBC’s Mark Lowen, in the Turkish capital Ankara. [eap_ad_1] Erdogan had been prime minister since 2003 and was barred from standing for another term.

He needed more than 50 per cent of the vote for an outright victory, avoiding a second round.

Our correspondent says turnout appears to be much lower than expected – some voters may have been dissuaded by the summer heat and holidays.

Turkey – wedged between the turmoil of Iraq, Syria and Ukraine – is an important ally for the West, our correspondent adds, and whoever becomes head of state will hold a key geopolitical position.

Erdogan’s two rivals were a little-known diplomat, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, and Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas.

Ihsanoglu, the joint candidate for the two main opposition parties in parliament, gained about 38 per cent of the vote.

Demirtas took about nine per cent.

In his final rally in the city of Konya on Saturday, Erdogan vowed to raise Turkey’s democratic standards and economic record to create a “world leader and global power”.

“There is no unattainable dream or unattainable objective for this nation,” he said.

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