Tue, Jun 26, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Muharrem Ince concedes defeat in Turkish election

‘ONE-MAN REGIME’:‘Turkey has cut off its links with democracy,’ the runner-up said about the country’s new system. ‘It has cut off links with the parliamentary system’

AP, ANKARA

Supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan light flares during celebrations outside the party headquarters in Istanbul on Sunday.

Photo: AP

Turkey’s main opposition candidate has conceded defeat in Sunday’s presidential and parliamentary elections, calling on the winner, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to end his divisive policies.

“I accept the results of the election,” Muharrem Ince told reporters yesterday.

Erdogan emerged victorious, garnering 52.6 percent of the votes, according to unofficial results. Ince, his closest rival, won 30.6 percent. Erdogan’s margin of victory would allow him to avoid a second-round runoff vote.

“Be everyone’s president, embrace everyone,” Ince told Erdogan. “That’s what I would have done if I had won.”

The 54-year-old politician criticized Turkey’s new system, saying: “Turkey has cut off its links with democracy. It has cut off links with the parliamentary system. It is transitioning toward a one-man regime.”

Ince said that he had garnered 15 million votes in the elections and would work to increase them to 30 million.

As the election ushered in a new executive presidential system in Turkey, Erdogan is now “all-powerful” and it is up to him whether Turkey’s relations with the EU improve, Luxembourgian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Jean Asselborn said as he arrived on Monday at a meeting with EU counterparts.

“Mr Erdogan is now an all-powerful man, not just de facto, but also formally,” he said, adding that “he has everything in his hands,” including the power to end a state of emergency, release detainees and “get on another track with Europe.”

Turkish Supreme Electoral Council President Sadi Guven on Monday said that 99.91 percent of the ballots cast in Sunday’s dual presidential and parliamentary elections have been “processed” so far.

The elections were “healthy,” Guven said, adding that the results would be opened for public scrutiny in 10 days.

Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party garnered 42.5 percent of the parliamentary vote, falling short of a parliamentary majority, but a better-than-expected performance by its nationalist ally would allow the party to control the 600-seat legislature.

The board is scheduled to confirm the results on Friday after reviewing complaints.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has become one of the first world leaders to congratulate Erdogan.

Putin sent Erdogan a telegram to congratulate him, the Kremlin said in a statement on Monday.

Putin told Erdogan that the results of the election were a testament to his political authority and the broad support for his leadership.

Turkey and Russia have put aside their traditional rivalries and differences on regional issues to forge closer ties. Putin and Erdogan have met several times in the past year and regularly speak on the phone.

Also yesterday, Kosovar President Hashim Thaci congratulated Erdogan in a tweet, adding: “Looking forward to our continued good cooperation.”

Turkey has been a main supporter of Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008.

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