Turkey on Sunday awaited the outcome of its most tightly-fought elections in recent years, with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan seeking a new mandate and control over Parliament in the face of a revitalised opposition and weakening economy.
Erdogan´s main presidential rival, Muharrem Ince of the main opposition Republican People´s Party (CHP) urged election monitors to remain at polling stations to help ensure against possible election fraud, as final results came in from large cities where his party typically performs strongly.
However, the first results had been expected to give Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted party a strong lead and it is expected to shorten as more votes are tallied across the nation of 81 million people.
Turkish voters had for the first time cast ballots for both president and parliament in the snap polls, with Erdogan looking for a first round knockout and an overall majority for his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
"The Turkish public has mandated me as president according to unofficial results", Erdoğan said on Sunday night.
On the parliamentary front, Erdogan's AK Party got 42.4 percent of the votes, while its far-right MHP secured 11.2 percent.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressed his supporters after claiming victory in critical elections.
Mr Ince accused Anadolu of "manipulation" of the results.
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Most of the group are conservative extremists among the Kurds who are disappointed that Erdogan failed to keep his promise to make peace with Kurdish separatists, Sencar said. One party supporter, Nejdet Erke, said he had been "waiting for this emotion" since morning.
Following the failed coup, Turkey has been under a state of emergency for almost two years and has seen a widespread crackdown on alleged supporters of Gulen.
A count of less than 10 percent for the parliamentary election also showed that Erdogan´s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was well ahead and set for an overall majority.
"This stability must continue and that can happen with Erdogan so I voted for him", said janitor Mehmet Yildirim, 48, in Istanbul.
Mr Erdogan will be hoping to win decisively, as a run-off vote could end in defeat or narrow his margin of victory. He said turnout appeared to be high and that "no serious incidents" had occurred.
Cheering Erdogan supporters waving Turkish flags gathered outside the president's official residence in Istanbul, chanting, "Here's the president, here's the commander".
The head of Turkey's electoral commission said authorities had taken action following reports of irregularities at voting stations in southeastern Turkey.
He brought forward the elections from November 2019, but he faced an unexpectedly feisty challenge from Ince, a former physics teacher and veteran CHP lawmaker, who galvanized Turkey's long-demoralised and divided opposition.
In Germany, where more than 1.4 million eligible Turkish voters live, Erdoğan had garnered 65.4 percent of the vote.