Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won Turkey’s first direct presidential election.
With almost all the votes counted, current PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan had won about 52%, against 38% for main rival Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu.
The huge margin of victory means there is no need for a run-off.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has vowed to bolster the power of the president, promised supporters a “social reconciliation period”, saying: “Let’s leave the old discussions in the old Turkey.”
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won Turkey’s first direct presidential election (photo AFP/Getty Images)
He added in the speech in Ankara: “Today, not only those who love us, but also those who don’t have won. Today Turkey has won.”
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has spent three terms as prime minister, is revered by supporters for boosting the economy and giving a voice to conservatives.
His critics lament his authoritarian approach and Islamist leanings in a secular state.
After the provisional results were announced Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, joint candidate for the two main opposition parties, said: “I congratulate the prime minister and wish him success.”
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been prime minister since 2003 and was barred from standing for another term.
He needed more than 50% of the vote for an outright victory, avoiding a second round.
Turnout appears to be much lower than expected – some voters may have been dissuaded by the summer heat and holidays.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s other rival, Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas, took about 9% of the vote.
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Turkish people are voting in the country’s first ever direct presidential election.
Three candidates are vying for the position, including current PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
If none of the candidates gets above 50% of the vote, a second round will be held on August 24.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, 60, says that if he wins he wants to turn the largely ceremonial post of president into the country’s executive powerhouse.
He has been prime minister since 2003 and is barred from standing for that office again.
Polls opened at 08:00 local time and close at 17:00.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s two rivals in Turkey’s presidential election are a little-known diplomat, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, and Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas
Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s two rivals are a little-known diplomat, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, and Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas.
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, 71, is the joint candidate of the two main opposition parties in parliament, the centre-left Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
He served as the secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation from 2004 to 2014.
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has vowed to uphold the president’s traditional role, insisting it is not up to the head of state to be involved in day-to-day running of politics.
Selahattin Demirtas, 41, is a leader of the left-wing People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and a well-known politician from the Kurdish minority.
Correspondents say he has focused his campaign on championing the cause of the oppressed, the poor, the young and the working classes.
In his final rally in the city of Konya on Saturday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to raise Turkey’s democratic standards and economic record to create a “world leader and global power”.
Selahattin Demirtas held his final rally in the city of Izmir.
“We cannot build our union by accusing each other. Let’s show our colors at the ballot box tomorrow with our oppressed identities and faiths,” he said.
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Turkey’s first direct presidential election will be held on Sunday, August 10.
Candidate and current PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan is due to hold his final rally in the central Anatolian city of Konya.
The post of president, previously chosen by parliament and largely ceremonial, is being put to a popular vote for the first time.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he wants to enhance presidential powers.
At his penultimate rally in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Friday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on his supporters to “explode ballot boxes on Sunday and deal a democratic slap” to his political opponents.
Candidate and current PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan is due to hold his final rally in the central Anatolian city of Konya (photo AP)
With the clock ticking down to the end of campaigning, his two rivals also reached out to voters on Friday.
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu visited the town of Soma, which in May was the scene of Turkey’s worst ever mining disaster.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s handling of the tragedy, in which 301 miners were killed, was widely criticized and he has steered clear of the area during his campaign.
Kurdish candidate Selahattin Demirtas held the biggest rally of his campaign in Turkey’s largest Kurdish city of Diyarbakir on Friday.
Tens of thousands of people waving Kurdish flags turned out to hear him speak.
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, 71, is the joint candidate of the two main opposition parties, the centre-left Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
Selahattin Demirtas, 41, is a member of the left-wing People’s Democratic Party.
Correspondents say the election has become a referendum on Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an Islamist-rooted politician whose support base lies in Turkey’s conservative, pious heartland.
The winner must get more than 50% of the vote.
If no candidate reaches this mark in the first round, a run-off will be held on August 24.
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