Turkey elections: was Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s victory fair?
Opposition parties vow to continue to fight ‘whatever the result’
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won a second term, following a fiercely fought election campaign.
Turkish state media has reported that with 99% of the votes counted, Erdogan has secured 53% of the votes, giving him a first-round win, with his closest rival Muharrem Ince on 31%. Voter turnout for the election was reportedly 87%.
“We have received the message that has been given to us in the ballot boxes. We will fight even more with the strength you provided us with this election,” Erdogan said in his victory speech in the capital, Ankara.
“I hope nobody will damage democracy by casting a shadow on this election and its results to hide their failure,” he continued.
Was the election fair?
CNN reports that Erdogan declared himself the winner before the results were announced, leading to opposition claims that “state media and the election commission had manipulated the results and saying it was too early to be sure of the outcome”.
Halk TV, a Turkish nationwide TV channel, spoke to the opposition CHP’s candidate Muharrem Ince via WhatsApp. Ince told the network that the election was not a fair race, The Guardian reports.
According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Erdogan and his AKP party “used state resources to ensure victory” adding that “the media is almost totally pro-Erdogan after years of co-option and censorship”.
The paper also alleges that on election day, ”there were reported cases of fraud, including ballot stuffing, [such as] an incident where a car filled with ballots was pulled over heading to a polling station near the southern city of Urfa.”
What does the victory mean?
The BBC says that in winning the election, Erdogan will “assume major new powers under Turkey's new constitution”.
Those new powers include the ability to “directly appoint top public officials, including ministers and vice presidents; The power to intervene in the country's legal system; and the power to impose a state of emergency”. The role of prime minister of Turkey has also been removed.
The opposition candidates had pledged to overturn the new powers, which were narrowly passed by referendum last year, if they won.