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Turkish opposition candidate concedes defeat to Erdogan

However overseas election observers said that some monitors were obstructed while carrying out their mission

OPPOSITION candidate Muharrem Ince conceded defeat yesterday to Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey’s presidential election, urging the victor to end his divisive policies.

“I accept the results of the election,” said the Republican People’s Party leader, acknowledging that the gap — 52.6 per cent for President Erdogan and 30.6 per cent for himself — made a challenge futile.

Mr Ince told Mr Erdogan: “Be everyone’s president, embrace everyone. That’s what I would have done if I had won.”

Supreme Electoral Council president Sadi Guven said that “almost 100 per cent” of ballots cast had been counted, with a number from expatriate voters at 41 border crossings still being processed.

Mr Guven said that more than 50 million votes had been cast — more than 26 million of them in favour of Mr Erdogan.

He added that the formal results for the parliamentary and presidential elections would be published on July 5.

Jailed pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtas issued a statement from prison praising his party’s success in winning seats in parliament despite “injustices.”

It surpassed the 10 per cent threshold needed to make it to parliament, winning a projected 67 seats out of 600.

“While other candidates could stage 100 campaign rallies, I was able to send out 100 tweets,” said Mr Demirtas, who won 8.4 per cent of the presidential vote.

“The fact that I was forced to campaign in detention conditions was the greatest injustice,” he stressed.

Overseas observers criticised the uneven playing field for the elections, alleging that some monitors were obstructed while carrying out their mission.

Unbalanced media coverage in favour of Mr Erdogan and his ruling AK party resulted in voters not being able to “get informed choice,” said Audrey Glover of the Organisation for Security & Co-operation in Europe delegation.

Turkey had “work” to do to ensure that future elections meet democratic standards, Ms Glover said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has forged closer ties recently with Mr Erdogan, told him the election results were a testament to his political authority and broad support for his leadership.

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci tweeted: “Looking forward to our continued good co-operation.”

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