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Triumphant Erdogan faces challenges over economy and earthquake recovery

Triumphant Erdogan faces challenges over economy and earthquake recovery

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has a mandate to rule Turkey until 2028 after winning a presidential election run-off.

The Turkish President must now confront skyrocketing inflation that has fuelled a cost-of-living crisis and oversee rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people.

Mr Erdogan secured more than 52% of the vote in Sunday’s presidential run-off, two weeks after he fell short of scoring an outright victory in the first round.

His opponent, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, had sought to reverse Mr Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian leanings, promising to return to democratic norms, to adopt more conventional economic policies and improve ties with the West.

But in the end, voters chose the man they see as a strong, proven leader.

Mr Erdogan thanked the nation for entrusting him with the presidency again in two speeches he delivered in Istanbul and Ankara.

“The only winner today is Turkey,” Mr Erdogan said outside the presidential palace in Ankara, promising to work hard for Turkey’s second century, which he called the “Turkish century”.

The country marks its centennial this year.

Mr Kilicdaroglu said the election was “the most unjust ever”, with all state resources mobilised for Mr Erdogan.

“We will continue to be at the forefront of this struggle until real democracy comes to our country,” the defeated challenger said in Ankara.

Supporters of Mr Erdogan, a divisive populist and masterful orator, took to the streets to celebrate, waving Turkish or ruling party flags, honking car horns and chanting his name.

Celebratory gunfire was heard in several Istanbul neighbourhoods.

Leaders across the world sent their congratulations, highlighting Turkey’s, and Mr Erdogan’s, enlarged role in global politics. His next term is certain to include more delicate manoeuvring with fellow Nato members over the future of the alliance and the war in Ukraine.

Mr Erdogan has retained the backing of conservative voters who remain devoted to him for lifting Islam’s profile in Turkey, which was founded on secular principles, and raising the country’s influence in international politics.

His rival was a soft-mannered former civil servant who has led the pro-secular Republican People’s Party (CHP), since 2010. The opposition took months to unite behind Mr Kilicdaroglu. He and his party have not won any elections in which Mr Erdogan ran.