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Election body confirms Erdogan’s win


May 29, 2023

The announcement came after the Turkish president had already declared victory

The head of Türkiye’s Supreme Election Council has announced that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won a third term in office after defeating Kemal Kilicdaroglu in a runoff election.

Erdogan claimed 52.14% of the vote to Kilicdaroglu’s 47.86%, Supreme Election Council chairman Ahmet Yener told reporters on Sunday night. Erdogan defeated his rival by a margin of around 2.2 million votes, according to figures released by the council.

Erdogan’s victory was all but assured for several hours by the time Yener spoke to the press, with a count by Türkiye’s Anadolu Agency showing an unclosable gap between Erdogan and Kilcdaroglu within hours of polls closing earlier on Sunday evening.

By the time around 98% of ballots had been counted, Erdogan declared victory in a rally outside his Istanbul residence, in which he thanked “each and every member of the nation” for taking part in the election.

The election was Türkiye’s second in as many weeks, after Erdogan emerged on top during a first round of voting on May 14, but failed to break the 50% threshold necessary to avoid a runoff. With third candidate Sinan Ogan eliminated, a second round was called for Sunday.

President since 2014 and prime minister for 11 years beforehand, Erdogan is a social conservative who has steered Türkiye away from integration with the EU while strengthening his own powers and promoting moderate Islamist policies at home. He has developed close trade and diplomatic links with Russia and China while positioning himself as a potential peacemaker in regional conflicts, including in Ukraine.

Kilicdaroglu is a more liberal politician, who promised to mend Türkiye’s strained ties with its NATO allies and restart EU accession talks.

While Kilicdaroglu has not yet formally conceded defeat, he told his supporters on Sunday that he was “saddened” by the result of the election and would continue to fight for “real democracy” in the future.