Russian President Vladimir Putin has praised Recep Tayyip Erdogan following his victory in the Turkish general election on Sunday, and vowed to increase cooperation between the two nations surrounding the ongoing war in Syria.
Despite concerns surrounding the fairness of the election campaign and changes to Turkish electoral law, Mr Putin declared the election had reconfirmed Mr Erdogan’s mandate.
The Russian leader said: “Mr Erdogan’s win fully confirms his political weight and the wide support of the policy pursued under his leadership.”
The main opposition leader in the ballot, Muharrem Ince, blasted Erdogan’s victory as being “marred by blood” following the result.
But Mr Putin was joined by a host of leaders in congratulating the Turkish President, including the governments of Belarus, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Venezuela, and Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Theresa May also sent her congratulations last night, alongside Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
Muharrem Ince conceded defeat after receiving 30.64 percent of the vote
Mr Erdogan’s win fully confirms his political weight and the wide support of the policy pursued under his leadership: Vladimir PutinLoading...
However many leaders opted to delay sending their congratulations until the final results and assessments are published on July 5.
Despite the vote being endorsed by the higher election board and the Turkish opposition party, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) expressed concerns surrounding the outcome.
They declared the overwhelmingly pro-Government media coverage during the election campaign gave Mr Erdogan an unfair advantage, after he received 181 hours of coverage on state televisions compared to only 15 hours for his main rival Muharrem Ince of the CHP party.
The organisation also raised concerns over the alterations to the Turkish election laws which were implemented in March and April.
These changes allowed police to be present at the vote and for polling stations to be moved, and meant that government appointees were made the chairmen of the ballot box committees that oversaw the preliminary counts.
Commenting on these alterations, Olena Sotnyk, member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, said: “They have weakened important safeguards.
“There are concerns about impartiality and transparency.”
The main opposition candidate, Muharrem Ince, nevertheless conceded defeat after receiving 30.64 percent of the vote compared to 52.6 percent for Mr Erdogan with 99 percent of ballot counted, which meant that no second round of voting was required.
Mr Ince noted there had been no substantial voting or counting irregularities during the election, but warned Turkey was now entering a “one-man rule”.
Criticising the election, Mr Ince said: “This has been an unfair election, it has been marred by blood.
“It has been understood for a while that we will not be a society based on institutions and rules.
“Mr Erdogan, please no longer act like the AK Party president. Now be the president of us all.”
However Mr Erdogan responded defiantly in his victory speech from the balcony of his AKP party headquarters in Ankara.
He said: “We will fight even more with the strength you have given us.
“We will not stop. We will not stop. We will never stop.”