Elected directly as Turkey’s first president, Erdogan delivers victory speech

ISTANBUL (CIHAN)- Declaring victory in Turkey’s first direct presidential election on Sunday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has delivered a speech from the balcony of his Justice and Development Party headquarters in Ankara.

“I thank everyone who appointed me the 12th president of the Turkish Republic,” Erdogan said. “Today the national will won once again, today democracy won once again,” he told a crowd of thousands of flag-waving and cheering supporters.

Referring that until now, it was Parliament that elected Turkey’s presidents, “You did not choose a president through an intermediary, you chose him yourself,” Erdogan told his supporters.

After winning just over half the votes in the country’s first popular election for head of state, president-elect called for a period of social reconciliation. “I say this from the heart. Let’s start a new social reconciliation period today and let’s leave the old discussions in the old Turkey,” Erdogan told thousands of supporters from the balcony of AK Party headquarters.

Ekmeleddin IhsanoIlu, the joint candidate for presidency of several opposition parties, welcomed the election result on Sunday night, saying the nearly 40-percent support he got was a “very significant figure.”

“It is an answer to those who said a month ago, when we first started our election campaign, that nobody even knows IhsanoIlu,” he told reporters after the vote. “I want to express my gratitude for those who supported me, all the political parties and the army of volunteers,” he said.

With 99.28 percent of ballot boxes counted, Erdogan had 51.69 percent of the vote, according to Cihan News Agency, which had reporters at ballot stations. Erdogan’s main opponent, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, had 38.51 percent and the third candidate, Selahattin Demirtas, had 9.80 percent.

Speaking to press later in the night, Supreme Election Council head Sadi Guven declared that Erdogan had won but no official results would be released until Monday.