Erdogan claims victory in Turkish election - but opponent disputes, claims manipulation

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he expects the level of development of his country to reach the levels of Russian Federation and the United States.

A new rule come into place after the election, removing the role of Prime Minister and giving the President complete ruling power.

Opposition officials cried foul as soon as results began coming in, with the state-run Anadolu Agency announcing preliminary results more than two hours earlier than expected and opening with a massive lead for President Erdoğan and his party's alliance in parliament.

Turkish voters are going to the polls to decide whether to grant President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a second five-year term, in the country's most fiercely-fought elections in years.

An unexpectedly strong showing by the AK Party's alliance partner, the nationalist MHP, could translate into a stable parliamentary majority Erdogan seeks to govern freely. But he also faces an energized opposition that has united largely around secular candidate, Muharrem Ince, 54, a former physics teacher whose rallies have drawn millions across the country.

Turkey's global TV network announced Mr Erdogan was the victor when just 91 percent of votes had been counted. The AKP's results are expected to be lower than they were in the 2015 election, when the party received almost 50 percent, achieving a comfortable majority in the parliament.

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Voicing opposition concerns about possible electoral fraud, Mr Ince earlier told reporters outside the High Electoral Board (YSK) after polling stations had closed that citizens should protect ballot boxes.

The stakes in this election are particularly high as the new president will be the first to enjoy enhanced powers under a new constitution agreed in a April 2017 referendum strongly backed by Erdogan.

He secured an executive presidency with sweeping powers, having been first elected 15 years ago.

"The Turkish people have said "onwards" with President Erdogan", said Bekir Bozdag on Twitter.

But in a situation labelled as blatant unfairness by activists, the HDP's presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtas has campaigned from a prison cell after his November 2016 arrest on charges of links to outlawed Kurdish militants.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party, or HDP, was passing the 10 percent threshold required to enter parliament with 11.2 percent.

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Some 31 percent of respondents said they believed the coalition would last until the next election in 2021. However, the Maltese army says it is providing humanitarian supplies to the stranded vessel.

Almost 60 million Turks, including more than 3 million expatriates, are eligible to vote in the elections for the presidency and for 600 parliamentary seats.

Erdogan argues that his new powers will better enable him to tackle the nation's economic problems and crush Kurdish rebels in southeast Turkey and in neighboring Iraq and Syria.

Turkey remains under a state of emergency imposed in the aftermath of a failed coup in July 2016.

In Suruc, the scene of deadly clashes between CHP and AKP suppoters 10 days before the vote, Tezcan said "armed people" were "running around openly and threatening the electoral atmosphere".

State-run Anadolu news agency said the six were detained after videos posted on social media reportedly showed them shouting expletives against Erdogan.

Erdogan's government says that the purges and detentions are in line with the rule of law and aim to remove Gulen's supporters from state institutions and other parts of society.

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