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‘Century of Türkiye’: Erdogan hails his victory as triumph of democracy

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in an address to the nation following the preliminary results of the 2023 presidential elections, hailed his victory as a triumph of democracy.

Speaking before hundreds of thousands of people who had gathered in the courtyard of the presidential complex in Ankara, President Erdogan emphasised unity, declaring that the true winners of Sunday’s run-off polls were 85 million Turkish citizens and the Turkish democracy.

“We are not the only winners. Türkiye is the winner, our democracy is the winner,” Erdogan said, addressing thousands of his supporters gathered in front of the presidential complex in the capital Ankara.

“No one has lost today. All 85 million have won. Now is the time to unite around our national goals and national dreams,” he said while addressing a massive crowd of supporters in the midnight of May 28.

Erdogan’s reelection was confirmed by the chairman of the country’s Supreme Election Council (YSK) on Sunday evening.

Speaking to reporters in Ankara, YSK head Ahmet Yener said Erdogan won Türkiye’s presidency over opposition challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu in the second-round runoff vote.

According to unofficial results, the Turkish incumbent won the race with 52.14 percent, while Kilicdaroglu got 47.86 percent of the votes, he said, adding that 99.43 percent of the ballot boxes have been opened so far.

‘Century of Türkiye’

“In one of the most important elections of our multi-party political history, our nation made its decision in favour of the ‘Century of Türkiye’,” Erdogan said.

Erdogan told his supporters that the election was Türkiye’s “most important” in the modern era.

“We have to work day and night for our people,” Erdogan said.

Healing wounds of the February 6 earthquakes and rebuilding the destroyed cities will continue to be the government’s top priority, he said.

Erdogan said Turkish nation has power and strength and it will earn its rightful place in the global order.

He also reminded people that the following day, May 29, coincides with the anniversary of the conquest of Istanbul by Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II in 1453.

“The conquest of Istanbul, which we will commemorate tomorrow on its 570th anniversary, marked the beginning of a new era while bringing an end to an old era,” Erdogan said.

“Hopefully, just like this pivotal moment in history, the Century of Türkiye that we see these elections as the gateway to will also leave its mark.”

Erdogan also criticised the Western media for their malicious propaganda against his reelection bid.

“Western media has lost,” he said, adding that they published covers to “destroy” him.

Return of Syrian refugees

On the voluntary return of Syrian refugees, Erdogan said: “So far, we have facilitated the voluntary return of nearly 600,000 people to safe areas on Syrian territory.

“Through a new resettlement project we are carrying out with Qatar, we will ensure the return of 1 million more people in a few years.”

More than 3.7 million Syrians currently reside in Türkiye.

Following the start of a civil war in Syria in 2011, Türkiye adopted an “open-door” policy for Syrians fleeing persecution and brutality.

Syria has been embroiled in a civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN estimates.

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