The current president of the nation, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, scored a narrow victory in the Sunday runoff election, giving him a second five-year term.
Ahmet Yener, head of the YSK Election Board, reported that Erdogan won the election after obtaining 52.14% of the vote, defeating his rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu. Shortly after declaring victory, the Turkish president spoke to his supporters and declared that he had been chosen by the electorate to lead the country for the next five years.
“The only winner today is Turkey,” Erdogan said. Meanwhile, opposition leader Kilicdaroglu condemned the “most unfair election in years,” yet pledged to continue “leading this struggle” against the Erdogan regime.
“My real sadness is about the difficulties awaiting the country,” he said, without explicitly conceding defeat. In his victory address delivered on Sunday night, Erdogan urged “unity and solidarity,” promising to put any disagreements behind him in order to bring the country together around “national values and dreams.”
Erdogan said that his narrow victory in the election was a victory for “Turkish democracy” and all 85 million people living in Turkey. “We have no resentment, no anger or frustration with anyone,” the French AFP news agency quoted him as saying. “Today, nobody lost. The entire nation of 85 million won.”
Erdogan then allegedly changed his position and said “terrorist organizations” had lost the poll. He acknowledged that the nation’s exceptionally high inflation was the most urgent concern, but he claimed that it was a problem that could be solved.
He also committed to building a strong economy based on stability and confidence and vowed that inflation would drop. Additionally, he pledged to secure the return of an additional 1 million Syrians who had fled the civil war in their nation for neighbouring Turkey.
One of the most contentious campaigns in recent memory took place throughout the two-month election period. Due to the backing provided by the biggest pro-Kurdish party, Erdogan frequently referred to his opponent as being supported by “terrorists,” while Kilicdaroglu concluded the campaign by branding Erdogan a “coward.”
The opposition in particular pledged to compel Syrians and other refugee communities to leave, giving the campaign an increasingly nationalist tenor.
Since the introduction of direct presidential elections in 2014, the vote had never advanced to a second round before Sunday’s run-off. Even though voters were asked to cast ballots once more two weeks after the original election on May 14, the turnout stayed around 85%.
The outcome for Turks watching the inauguration of the voting booths on television depended on whether they were watching the state-run Anadolu news agency or the opposition-affiliated Anka news agency.
Two hours after voting ended, Anadolu showed Erdogan leading with 53.7 percent, while Anka showed Kilicdaroglu ahead with 50.1 percent, according to the electoral authorities. But as the night went on, the gap between the two accounts shrank and Erdogan was revealed to be ahead in both.