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Recep Tayyip Erdogan re-elected Turkish president

Staff Writer |
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has emerged victorious a high-stakes election, seeing off the most serious challenge yet to his political dominance and tightening his grip on the nation he has ruled for 15 years.

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Defeating the twin threats of a reinvigorated opposition and a weakened currency, Erdogan declared himself the winner even before official results were confirmed.

With 97.7% of the votes counted, Sadi Guven, chief of Turkey's Supreme Election Board, said Erdogan had won an absolute majority, avoiding a runoff against his principal challenger, Muharrem Ince. "President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has received the majority of votes," Guven said.

State media put Erdogan on 52.5%, well ahead of Ince on 31%.

Erdogan starts a new five-year term as president with sweeping new powers granted in a narrowly won referendum, denounced by his critics as a blatant power grab.

Under the new system, the office of prime minister is abolished, parliament's powers curtailed and the president is accorded wide-ranging executive authority.

In any case, Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its allied Nationalist Movement Party's (MHP) retained their parliamentary majority.

Erdogan delivered a victory address from a balcony at the AKP's offices in the capital Ankara in the early hours of Monday morning. "The winners of the June 24 elections are Turkey, the Turkish nation, sufferers of our region and all oppressed (people) in the world," he said, according to state media.

"Turkey has decided to take the side of growth, development, investment, enrichment and a reputable, honorable and influential country in all areas in the world," Erdogan said.

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