Erdogan declares victory in historic Turkish elections

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The Kremlin press service said earlier that Putin had sent a telegram to Erdogan to congratulate him on his re-election as Turkey's president and the victory of the ruling Justice and Development Party.

Erdogan also declared victory in the parliamentary election, saying that the alliance led by the AKP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) had won a majority in parliament. He accused the agency of "manipulation" of the results.

Turkey's High Electoral Board declared Erdogan, 64, the victor of Sunday's polls, which usher in a new executive presidential system that was approved in a referendum a year ago.

"The opposition parties ran surprisingly strong, energetic and competitive campaigns", Amanda Sloat, an Obama administration official who is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told the New York Times.

Erdogan also warned anyone against casting doubt on the results: "I hope nobody will harm our country's democracy by casting a shadow on the election system and its results in order to disguise their failure". And Ince said only about half of ballot boxes have been opened and called on party monitors to stay by the ballot boxes.

A majority of 360 votes in parliament are required to take a constitutional change to referendum in the new executive presidential system.

Ince, a former high school physics teacher, is 10 years younger than Erdogan, 64, who became president in 2014 but previously served as prime minister from 2003 to 2014.

The opposition CHP and IYI parties, along with the ultraconservative Felicity Party (SP), formed the diverse Nation Alliance to challenge Erdogan in the parliamentary polls. They are expected to have 146 and 45 seats in parliament.

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"The AK Party got around 42 percent of the votes, while Erdogan got around 52 percent".

As a long-time human rights activist, Paylan has been outspoken on issues of minority community rights, including the right of the Armenian community to hold unimpeded elections for a Patriarch in Istanbul, and more recently introduced legislation recognizing the Armenian Genocide, which was rejected by the ruling AKP party.

"This makes the MHP an important party for the AK Party and Erdogan", added Akyol.

Erdogan entered the race in the face of a depreciating lira and straining relations with the West amid an ongoing state of emergency.

Turkey has been under emergency rule, which restricts some personal freedoms and allows the government to bypass parliament with emergency decrees, for almost two years following an attempted military coup in July 2016.

After surviving a coup attempt in 2016, Erdogan embarked on an unprecedented purge of the civil service, judiciary and education system that sent tens of thousands to prison on charges of complicity in the putsch. Doing so would be the right thing for the country.

Erdogan's government says that the purges and detentions are in line with the rule of law and aim to remove Gulen's supporters from state institutions and other parts of society.

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