Turkey confirms Erdogan's win as new president

August 15, 2014 - 11:35 AM
Turkey Erdogan

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the members of his ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Erdogan won Turkey's first direct presidential election Sunday, striking a conciliatory tone toward critics who fear he is bent on a power grab as he embarks on another five years at the country's helm.(AP Photo)

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's High Electoral Board on Friday confirmed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as the country's first popularly elected president.

Board chairman Sadi Guven declared that Erdogan "has been elected the 12th president of the Turkish Republic."

The board confirmed that Erdogan received 51.79 percent of the vote in the elections held Aug. 10.

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the former head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation received 38.44 percent and Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas came third with 9.76 percent, the Board said.

Erdogan is to be sworn in on Aug. 28.

Erdogan said Thursday that Turkey's ruling party is likely to pick a prime minister to replace him during a meeting of senior party leaders next week. Erdogan, who is reported to want a staunchly loyal prime minister, is scheduled to chair the meeting.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is the strongest contender to succeed Erdogan, Turkish media reports say. Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc and Binali Yildirim, a former transport minister, have also been named as possible replacements.

The Board's announcement comes amid a political dispute as to whether Erdogan can be formally involved in the selection of his successor.

Turkey's main opposition party, the Republican People's Party, is arguing that Erdogan has to step down as prime minister and as party chairman as of Friday, after the election board has confirmed the election results. It is citing a clause in the Constitution which says the president-elect has to cut ties with its party and parliament when elected and has petitioned a high court for a decision. The government says Erdogan remains prime minister and party chairman until he is officially inaugurated as president on Aug. 28.

Although largely a ceremonial position, Erdogan has said he wants to strengthen the presidency and would make use of its seldom-used powers, such as presiding over Cabinet meetings.