As counting started soon after the close of vote at 5 pm local time on May 28, Erdogan had an early lead.
He maintained his lead throughout the counting process.
The latest figures showed that Erdogan had secured 52.07 percent of the vote to his rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu’s 47.93 percent with 98.94 percent of the votes counted.
Erdogan’s lead was wide enough for the Turkish news agency, Anadolu Agency to declare him the winner.
While Erdogan thanked Turkish voters for giving him a third term, he called it a victory for Turkiye.
Congratulatory messages have already started pouring in from around the world.
One of the first to send him a congratulatory message was the president of Iran, Dr Ebrahim Raiesi. He said the Turkish people had reaffirmed their trust in Erdogan. The two countries will continue to strengthen their relations for shared goals.
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a long message congratulating Erdogan for maintaining an independent foreign polic and working for improved relations between their two countries. He called Erdogan my “dear friend”.
The United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Algeria, Libya, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Hungary, Serbia and Malta also sent congratulatory messages, as did the military-installed prime minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif. It is interesting to note that Shehbaz Sharif and his criminal gang are running away from elections in Pakistan but he sent a congratulatory message to Erdogan for his election victory.
Politics never fail to expose the hypocrisy of politicians.
Turkiye faces many challenges including a serious economic downturn and very high inflation. The devastating earthquake of February 6 also delivered a massive blow with more than 50,000 people killed and tens of thousands of buildings destroyed. Losses are estimated at more than $100 billion.
The other major challenge for Erdogan is relations with Syria. The presence of 3.7 million Syrian refugees in Turkiye was also a hotly contested issue in the presidential elections. Turkish ultranationalists will not relent in their campaign to drive the refugees out Turkiye. For this, Erdogan has to mend fences with President Bashar al Asad who has insisted that Turkish troops must get out of his country.
While secure in the presidency for another five-years and his party and allies controlling the Turkish parliament with 322 seats in the 600-member chamber, it will depend on how Erdogan uses his continued control of the political space to solve some of the pressing problems facing the country.
Tonight, he will be able to sleep soundly although his health has not been terribly good in recent weeks. The strains of ill-health showed during the election campaign and he had to cancel several appearances before the media as well as campaign rallies.
He needs to deal with two inter-related issues immediately to get Turkiye out of its predicament.
The first is relations with Syria and the second is Turkiye’s economy.