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Erdogan wins Turkey's presidential election, hails 'new era'

Erdogan wins Turkey's presidential election, hails 'new era'

PanARMENIAN.Net - Outgoing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has hailed his victory in Turkey's first direct presidential election as a new era for the country, BBC News reports.

He told thousands of supporters from the balcony of his AK Party's HQ in Ankara his victory was for all Turks, not just those who had voted for him.

Erdogan secured about 52% of the vote, to avoid any run-off.

He wants to secure more power for the presidency but his opponents fear increasingly authoritarian rule. Until now the presidency has been largely ceremonial.

Erdogan has been Prime Minister since 2003 and was barred from standing for another term. He will be inaugurated on August 28. The AK Party must now appoint a party leader and PM-designate. Analysts say it is likely to be one Erdogan can control.

Erdogan told supporters: "I will not be the president of only those who voted for me, I will be the president of 77 million. Today the national will won once again, today democracy won once again. Those who didn't vote for me won as much as those who did, those who don't like me won as much as those who do."

Striking a note of conciliation largely absent from the campaigning with his two rivals, he said: "I want to build a new future, with an understanding of a societal reconciliation, by regarding our differences as richness, and by pointing out not our differences but our common values."

The veteran leader is revered by supporters for boosting the economy and giving a voice to conservatives. But his critics lament his authoritarian approach and Islamist leanings in a secular state, the BBC notes.

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglusecured about 38% and the third candidate, Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas, about 10%.

Official results will be confirmed on Monday, Aug 11.

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