Turkey’s election authority chief confirmed on Sunday night that incumbent Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had won the country’s presidential election in the first round, reported The Associated Press.
The announcement came after 97.7% of the votes had been counted. Erdogan had won 52.5% of the vote, thus preventing a run-off.
The head of the Supreme Election Council, Sadi Guven, said the remaining votes would not affect the outcome of Erdogan’s re-election.
The vote also ushered in an executive presidency system giving Erdogan sweeping new powers, noted AP.
In a speech following the official announcement of his victory, Erdogan said he would immediately begin to fulfill his campaign promises.
He announced that Turkey will continue to "liberate Syrian lands" so that refugees can return to Syria safely, according to Reuters.
Erdogan also said Turkey would also act more decisively against terrorist organizations.
Earlier on Sunday, Erdogan was projected to have won 52.8% of the vote after 95% of the ballots had been counted.
His primary opponent in Sunday’s election, Muharrem Ince, head of the center-left Republican People’s Party, had just 29.9% of the vote.
By 10:45 p.m. Ankara time, Erdogan had declared victory, claiming a mandate from Turkish voters to continue as president.
“The Turkish public has mandated me as president according to unofficial results,” Erdogan said. “I hope nobody will damage democracy by casting a shadow on this election and its results to hide their failure.”
Erdogan, who leads the right-wing Justice and Development party, has since his election as Prime Minister staked out a bellicose anti-Israel position, freezing ties with the Jewish state after the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010, in which 10 Turkish militants were killed while attempting to run Israel’s security blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Last month, Erdogan compared Israel to Nazi Germany, after Israeli forces opened fire on Gazans attempting to breach the Israeli border fence.
Shortly after the initial projections were announced, Erdogan received congratulatory phone calls from Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.
According to the PA’s official Wafa news agency, Abbas congratulated Erdogan on the success of the Turkish democratic process.
Haniyeh reportedly told Erdogan that a delegation of senior Hamas leaders would visit Turkey soon to personally congratulate him.