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Turkey election: Qatar emir congratulates Erdogan on win

Turkey election: Qatar emir congratulates Erdogan on win, over 97 percent of votes counted
19 min read
Voting in Turkey's presidential election runoff has closed in a contest that pitted current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan against challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu. Erdogan has all but won after over 97 percent of ballots have been counted.

Polling stations have closed in Turkey's first-ever runoff election, a contest in which conservative President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was the firm favourite to extend his Islamic-rooted rule to 2028.

Erdogan has all but won. He had secured 52.21 percent of ballots after 97.12 percent of votes were counted, while opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu was on 47.79 percent, according to Turkish public broadcaster TRT World.

Erdogan came out on top in the first round of voting on 14 May but fell just short of an outright majority against secular challenger Kilicdaroglu.

Erdogan, 69, hopes to extend his rule into a third decade and persist with Turkey's increasingly authoritarian path, muscular foreign policy and unorthodox economic governance.

He defied opinion polls and came out comfortably ahead with an almost five-point lead over 74-year-old Kilicdaroglu in the first round of an election with profound consequences for Turkey itself and global geopolitics.

Erdogan's unexpectedly strong showing amid a deep cost of living crisis, and a win in parliamentary elections for a coalition of his conservative Islamist-rooted AK Party (AKP), the nationalist MHP and others, buoyed the veteran campaigner.

The results of Sunday's runoff will decide not only who leads Turkey, a NATO-member country of 85 million, but also how it is governed, where its economy is headed after its currency plunged to one-tenth of its value against the dollar in a decade, and the shape of its foreign policy, which has seen Turkey irk the West by cultivating ties with Russia and Gulf states.

(Reuters, AFP, The New Arab)

Featured photos: Getty Images