Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won reelection Sunday, extending his increasingly authoritarian rule into a third decade as the country reels from high inflation and the aftermath of an earthquake that leveled entire cities.
A third term gives Erdogan, a polarizing populist, an even stronger hand domestically and internationally, and the election results will have implications far beyond the capital of Ankara. Turkey stands at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, and it plays a key role in NATO.
With more than 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. The head of Turkey’s electoral board confirmed the victory, saying that even after accounting for outstanding votes, the result was another term for Erdogan.
In two speeches — one in Istanbul and one in Ankara — Erdogan thanked the nation for entrusting him with the presidency for five more years.
“We hope to be worthy of your trust, as we have been for 21 years,” he told supporters on a campaign bus outside his home in Istanbul in his first comments after the results emerged.