Turkey elections
Supporters of the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan celebrate outside AK Party offices in Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, May 28, 2023. Image Credit: AP

The head of Turkey's election commission on Sunday declared President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the winner of a historic runoff vote that will extend his 20-year rule until 2028.

"Based on provisional results, it has been determined that Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been elected president," Supreme Election Council chairman Ahmet Yener was quoted as saying by the Anadolu state news agency.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Ermine Erdogan wave to his supporters following his victory in the second round of the presidential election at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey May 29, 2023. Image Credit: Reuters

Erdogan declares victory in Turkey runoff election

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared victory Sunday in a historic runoff election that posed the toughest challenge of his two-decade rule.

"We will be ruling the country for the coming five years," Erdogan told his cheering supporters from atop a bus in his home district in Istanbul. "God willing, we will be deserving of your trust."

UAE leaders congratulate President of Turkey Erdogan

Erdogan winning 52.3% of vote with 95% of ballots counted: state media

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday led his secular rival with almost all votes counted in Turkey's historic runoff, putting him on course to extend his two decades in power to 2028.

With 96 percent of the ballots counted, Erdogan had won 52.3 percent of the vote to Kemal Kilicdaroglu's 47.7 percent, the Anadolu state news agency reported.

Turkey elections
Supporters of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan celebrate at AK Party offices in Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, May 28, 2023. Image Credit: AP

Key Developments (All times Istanbul, GMT+3)

Erdogan takes comfortable lead (6:20 p.m.)

Erdogan had 56.4% of the votes with 49.4% of all ballot boxes counted nationwide. Kilicdaroglu had 43.6% of the votes, according to state-run news agency Anadolu.

Polls close (5:00 p.m.)

After nine hours of voting in the presidential election, polls across the nation closed. About 50,000 people were added to the electorate since the first round on May 14. About 64 million were eligible to vote.

The first results will be aired after the election watchdog lifts a broadcast ban at 9 p.m. It may decide to do that earlier.

Candidates urge Turks to vote (12:17 p.m.)

Both leaders urged Turks to vote after casting their own ballots on Sunday. "I ask my citizens to participate without reaching complacency until the last moment," Erdogan said after voting in Istanbul.

People should choose "to get rid of oppression, to get rid of an authoritarian rule," Kilicdaroglu said in Ankara. "We have faced all kinds of defamation, all kinds of slander, but I trust the common sense of the people. Democracy will definitely come to this country."

Kilicdaroglu also urged his supporters to watch the ballot boxes until results are finalized. The turnout in the first round was 87%.

Turkey initial results show Erdogan with edge in runoff

Turkey's President and presidential candidate of AK Party Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures at the polling station on the day of the Presidential runoff vote in Istanbul on May 28, 2023. Image Credit: AFP

Turkey's Tayyip Erdogan was leading his presidential challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu with 56.4% support in the election runoff on Sunday, based on initial results with 35.8% of the ballot boxes opened, according to broadcaster NTV.

The gap between two candidates was expected to narrow as more, larger ballot boxes are opened in cities.

Turkey election

Separately, opposition broadcaster HalkTV showed Kilicdaroglu leading with 51.04% of the votes, with about 48% of the ballot boxes opened based on separate data.

Turkey polls
An electoral official holds up a vote during counting on the day of the second round of the presidential election in Istanbul on May 28, 2023. Image Credit: AFP