ITV News' Martha Fairlie reports on why some supporters of Erdogan's opponent are claiming the election was not a fair fight
Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won re-election on Sunday, extending his rule into a third decade as the country reels from high inflation and the aftermath of an earthquake that leveled entire cities.
With nearly 99% of ballot boxes opened, unofficial results from competing news agencies showed Erdogan with 52% of the vote, compared with 48% for his challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu.
Erdogan has a mandate to rule until 2028, securing five more years as leader of a country at the crossroads of Europe and Asia that plays a key role in NATO.
He must now confront skyrocketing inflation that has fueled a cost-of-living crisis and rebuild in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people.
His opponent, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, had sought to reverse Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian leanings, promising to return to democratic norms, adopt more conventional economic policies and improve ties with the West.
But in the end, voters chose the man they see as a strong, proven leader.
Rishi Sunak has spoken with President Erdogan to reiterate the “strong relationship” between the UK and Turkey as “economic partners and close Nato allies,” Downing Street said.
“Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spoke to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this evening to congratulate him on his re-election,” a No 10 spokeswoman said.
“The prime minister reiterated the strong relationship between the United Kingdom and Turkey, as economic partners and close Nato allies.
“He reflected on Turkey’s ongoing recovery from the devastating earthquakes earlier this year and pledged the UK’s continued solidarity with the Turkish people.
“The leaders agreed to continue working closely together to address shared challenges.”
In his first comments since the polls closed, Erdogan spoke to supporters on a campaign bus outside his home in Istanbul.
“I thank each member of our nation for entrusting me with the responsibility to govern this country once again for the upcoming five years,” he said.
He ridiculed his challenger for his loss, saying “bye bye bye, Kemal,” as supporters booed.
“The only winner today is Turkey,” Erdogan said.
In Istanbul, Erdogan supporters began celebrating even before the final results arrived, waving Turkish or ruling party flags, and honking car horns.
The outcome could have implications far beyond Ankara - Turkey stands at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, and it plays a key role in NATO.
Erdogan’s government vetoed Sweden’s bid to join NATO and purchased Russian missile-defense systems, which prompted the United States to oust Turkey from a US-led fighter-jet project.
But it also helped broker a crucial deal that allowed Ukrainian grain shipments and averted a global food crisis.
The competing news agencies get their data from completed ballot box counts that are gathered by personnel on the field, and are strong in different regions, explaining some of the variation in preliminary data.
Turkey’s electoral board sends its own data to political parties throughout the vote count but doesn’t declare official results until days later.
Erdogan, who has been at Turkey’s helm for 20 years, was favored to win a new five-year term in the second-round runoff, after coming just short of outright victory in the first round on May 14.
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