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Just one in three Dutch Turks vote in the Turkish election: AD

26 Juin 2018

Erdogan, accompanied by his wife Emine, waves to supporters of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara early Monday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took a commanding lead in his bid Sunday (this morning NZT) for a presidency with broadly expanded powers, according to partial results reported by the country's state-run news agency that showed him with more than 50 per cent of the vote - enough to avoid a runoff.

However the opposition raised doubts about the accuracy and reliability of the figures released by state-run Anadolu news agency, the sole distributor of the official vote tally.

His closest challenger Muharrem Ince of the main opposition, secularist Republican People's Party (CHP), received almost 30 percent of the votes.

As Recep Tayyip Erdogan was re-elected to the presidency during historic presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey on Sunday, Turks shared their experiences at the polls and reacted to the results on social media.

"We have received the message that has been given to us in the ballot boxes", he said.

Audrey Glover who headed the OSCE delegation in Turkey, said unbalanced media coverage in favour of Mr Erdogan and his ruling party resulted in voters not being able to "get informed choice".

The AKP says the changes are meant to make Erdogan's government more efficient and workable while he enacts rapid reforms that are fundamental to his agenda.

She and others in the city said they voted for the pro-Kurdish HDP, hoping it would exceed the 10 per cent threshold of votes needed to enter parliament. As it looked increasingly likely that Erdogan would extend his time as president-a position he's held since 2014-the lira has tumbled lower.

The presidential and parliamentary elections, held more than a year early on Sunday, complete NATO-member Turkey's transition from a parliamentary system of government to a presidential one in a process started with a referendum last year.

Of those votes, 60,800 went to Erdogan and 12,300 to his main rival Muharrem Ince.

She was referring to Erdogan´s victory speech in which he said the nearly 90 percent voter turnout "taught the entire world a democracy lesson".

Voting in Istanbul along with his son-in-law and Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, Erdogan said he expected turnout to be strong in an indication of "how mature democracy is in Turkey".

The shift will give Erdogan more power in his next term, abolishing the prime minister's post, and eliminating numerous checks and balances created to help parliament protect against the misuse of presidential powers. They have said election law changes and fraud allegations in the 2017 referendum raise fears about the fairness of the ballots.

The amendments will transform the country from a parliamentary democracy into a presidential system - arguably the most significant political development since the Turkish republic was declared in 1923.

"If Erdogan stays in power, the results will be catastrophic", said Ayse Yildirim, 46, who said she voted for the HDP.

In a sign of the importance of the partnership, Putin went to Turkey during his first trip overseas after winning a historic fourth presidential mandate in March 18 polls. Ince has reportedly secured just 31 percent, despite enormous popular rallies and a seemingly galvanized opposition movement in the lead-up to election day.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders also told reporters that the US urges Turkey to "take steps to strengthen democracy and continue progress toward resolving issues in the bilateral relationship".

The restrictive legal framework and powers granted under the ongoing state of emergency restricted the freedoms of assembly and expression, including in the media, said the observers.

Just one in three Dutch Turks vote in the Turkish election: AD