Turkey's Erdogan, main rival stage final election rallies

In the June 24 elections 56.39 million Turkish citizens are voting in total – 53.34 million in Turkey and 3.05 million abroad

In the June 24 elections 56.39 million Turkish citizens are voting in total – 53.34 million in Turkey and 3.05 million abroad

Turkey's incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed victory in critical elections based on unofficial results, securing an executive presidency with sweeping powers.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives to deliver a speech on June 24, 2018 in Istanbul, after initial results of Turkey's presidential and parliamentary elections.

"I hope for the best for our nation", said Ince as he cast his ballot in his native port town of Yalova south of Istanbul, vowing to spend the night at the headquarters of Turkey s election authority in Ankara to ensure a fair count.

Bahceli said the People's Alliance won the presidential election in the first round, leaving those expecting a crisis "bewildered".

The results, if they stand, will be a disappointment to the opposition, which mounted a dynamic election campaign that hoped to push Erdoğan into a second-round run-off against İnce, and to wrest control of the legislature from the AKP. "The Turkish people have said "onwards" with President Erdogan", said Bekir Bozdag on Twitter. If the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) wins seats by polling over the 10% minimum threshold, the AKP will struggle to keep its overall majority.

Several world leaders supportive of Erdogan, including Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, called to congratulate him on his "victory", the presidency said.

Ince, a 54-year-old former physics teacher, is backed by the center-left opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP.

Those powers will allow the victor to transform Turkey's political scene for years and possibly decades to come, governing until 2028 if they win re-election. With Erdogan remaining at the helm of his party, a loyal parliamentary majority could reduce checks and balances on his power unless the opposition can wield an effective challenge.

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An unexpectedly strong showing by the AK Party's alliance partner, the nationalist MHP, could translate into the stable parliamentary majority Mr Erdogan seeks to govern freely.

Turnout at the elections hovered around an extraordinary 87% of the electorate, exceeding that of last year's referendum.

Erdogan the most popular, and divisive, leader in recent Turkish history, said there would be no turning back from where he and the Islamist rooted AK Party had brought the economy.

Five candidates ran against Mr Erdogan in the presidential race.

His rallies in Turkey's three main cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir drew massive numbers.

The presidential election and a parliamentary election also held Sunday, both more than a year early, complete NATO-member Turkey's transition from a parliamentary system of government to a strong presidential system.

More than 59 million Turkish citizens, including three million living overseas, were eligible to vote.

In another incident, a mass brawl broke out when scours of citizens voted in bulk at polling station in Suruc. The president's prime challenger, Muharrem Ince, who had warned his supporters of possible fraud, had not conceded as of early Monday morning in Turkey.

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