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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won tightly-contested presidential polls, the election authority said Monday, extending his 15-year grip on power as the opposition complained bitterly about the conduct of the vote count.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he has been "entrusted by the nation" to lead again (AFP / Bulent Kilic)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won tightly-contested presidential polls, the election authority said Monday, extending his 15-year grip on power as the opposition complained bitterly about the conduct of the vote count.

Turkish voters had for the first time cast ballots for both president and parliament in the snap polls, with Erdogan looking for a first round knockout and an overall majority for his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The stakes were particularly high as the new president will be the first to enjoy enhanced powers, without even a prime minister, under a new constitution agreed in an April 2017 referendum strongly backed by Erdogan but which opponents say grants autocratic powers.

Erdogan defeated his nearest rival Muharrem Ince with an "absolute majority" of more than half the vote without needing a second round, said the chief of Turkey's election authority, Sadi Guven.

"I have been entrusted by the nation with the task and duties of the presidency," Erdogan said in a victory address at his Istanbul residence.

"Turkey has given a lesson in democracy to the entire world," he added, pointing to an 88 percent turnout.

Erdogan won 52.5 percent in the presidential poll while Ince, of the secular Republican People's Party (CHP), was on 31.5 percent, state-run Anadolu news agency said, based on a 99 percent vote count.

If confirmed, the figures would show Erdogan polling on a similar rating or even stronger than his 2014 election victory where he won his first mandate after over a decade as prime minister.

Celebrations erupted outside Erdogan's residence in Istanbul and AKP headquarters in Ankara, with crowds of flag-waving supporters, AFP correspondents said.

The usually loquacious Ince however remained silent, tweeting only that he would make a statement at 0900 GMT on Monday.

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Trailing were Selahattin Demirtas of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) with over eight percent in third and Meral Aksener of the nationalist (Iyi) Good Party with over seven percent.  Read More...
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