Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan won an outright victory in the first round of presidential elections yesterday, promising to be a powerful head of state amid fears his country is creeping towards one-man rule.
Erdogan won 51.8 percent of the vote, way ahead of his main opposition rival Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu on 38.6 percent, according to official results based on a 99 percent vote count.
The third contender, Kurdish candidate Selahattin Demirtas, won 9.6 percent of the vote. Erdogan's inauguration is set for August 28.
The result marked a personal triumph for Erdogan, 60, who has served as premier since 2003 and could potentially now be president for two mandates until 2024.
He has promised to be a powerful president with a beefed-up mandate, in contrast to the ceremonial role played by his recent predecessors.
The polls are the first time Turkey -- a member of Nato -- has directly elected its president.