The inexorable decline of the Turkish lira under Erdogan


A night of triumph for Erdogan saw the man who has dominated Turkey for the last 15 years declared victor of Sunday's presidential poll without needing a second round and take his ruling party-led alliance to an overall majority in parliament.

His main and closest rival Muharrem Ince, the candidate of the secular main opposition CHP, got 31 percent of the votes from people who hoped for a political sea-change.

Several world leaders supportive of Erdogan, including Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, called to congratulate him on his "victory", the presidency said.

"The restrictions we have seen on fundamental freedoms have had an impact on these elections", said Ignacio Sanchez Amor, head of the OSCE short-term observer mission in Turkey.

Erdogan spoke of his commitment to fight terrorist organisations and "to continue the fight to make the Syrian grounds freer" and to better the country's "international reputation". After the results were announced, thousands of Erdoğan supporters took to the streets and celebrated in nearly every corner of the country, while major provinces such as the capital Ankara and Turkey's culture and commercial capital Istanbul witnessed historic moments.

At a time when Erdogan and his government are drawing harsh criticism from the global community in terms of the downward course of democratic rights in the country and foreign policy disagreements with Western allies, his next steps under the one-man regime will be determinant for the country's worldwide position.

An AKP-led government with Erdogan at the helm has become deeply familiar to Turks over the past 16 years, since the party's first parliamentary victory in 2002. Erdogan has been president for 15 years, and based on 96 percent of votes that have been counted so far, that term will be extended another five years.

As with other U.S. allies and NATO, Turkey's relations with Washington have been strained by Erdogan's insistence on going his own way, especially on relations with Russian Federation and on policy in Syria. The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) had 11 percent, which would put it above the 10 percent needed to enter parliament.

The vote ushers in a powerful executive presidency backed by a narrow majority in a 2017 referendum.

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It was unclear whether Erdogan was also referring to Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim country and thirdlargest democracy, which will hold its presidential election in April next year. Turkish voters had for the first time cast ballots for both president and parliament in the snap elections. The biggest question is the future of rule of law and human rights, with reasonable fears of an emboldened president facing fewer constraints under new constitutional arrangements. A crackdown launched after the coup has seen 160,000 people detained, and the state of emergency allows Erdogan to bypass parliament with decrees.

Buoyed by opinion polls, opponents of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan believed they had a realistic chance of unseating him-or at least reducing his dominance in Sunday's elections.

Burcu, a 29-year-old shopkeeper in Istanbul who declined to provide his last name, told ABC News he voted for Ince and is suspicious of the official results.

The opposition candidates had pledged to overturn the new powers, which were narrowly passed by referendum past year, if they won.

He said: "Mr Erdogan is now an all-powerful man, not just de facto but also formally".

Luxembourg's foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, noted on Monday it is now up to Erdogan to decide whether Turkey's relations with the European Union will improve.

The president told crowds in Ankara in the early hours of Monday morning: "This election's victor is democracy, this election's victory is national will". Erdogan will most likely try to capitalize on his new mandate and seek to extract concessions from the United States in Syria and prevent military sanctions from brewing in the U.S. Congress.

Turkey's Western allies and rights groups have repeatedly condemned the government's detentions and purges amid a state of emergency that has been in place since a failed deadly coup in 2016.