Erdogan takes big lead in Turkey presidential vote, results show

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media captionTurkey's economy is the biggest election issue This is the story of farmer Metin Celik

Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling AK Party were heading for victory in Turkey's presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday, according to preliminary results, as the president sought to extend his 15-year rule.

Erdogan's main presidential rival, Muharrem Ince of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) urged election monitors to remain at polling stations to help ensure against possible election fraud. If a candidate wins just over 50 percent of the vote, he will win the presidency, but if not, there will be a runoff on July 8.

The report added that Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has won 14.82 percent of the vote while voter turnout has been put at 86.82 percent for presidential and 87 percent for parliamentary elections.

Erdogan has overseen historic change in Turkey since his Islamic-rooted ruling party first came to power in 2002 after years of secular domination.

As he cast his vote, Erdogan said the changes marked a "democratic revolution", although his opponents regard the most recent phase of his rule differently.

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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks to the press after casting his ballot at a polling station in Istanbul, Turkey, on June 24, 2018.

Erdogan's closest competitor, Ince, vowed that he would lift the state of emergency within 48 hours if elected president and reverse all the constitutional reforms afterward.

Civil society groups and opposition parties said they had half a million volunteer observers manning polling stations, but allegations of fraud emerged as early as midday on Sunday.

Mr. Erdogan said there had been no serious voting violations. The CHP had 19% and the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) 9%. "With the presidential system, Turkey is seriously raising the bar, rising above the level of contemporary civilizations".

Five candidates are running against Mr Erdogan in the presidential race.

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Erdogan, the most popular but also divisive leader in modern Turkish history, argues the new powers will better enable him to tackle the nation's economic problems - the lira has lost 20 percent against the dollar this year - and crush Kurdish rebels in southeast Turkey and in neighbouring Iraq and Syria.

Although Erdogan dominated airtime on a pliant mainstream media, Ince finished his campaign with eye-catching mass rallies, including a mega meeting in Istanbul on Saturday attended by hundreds of thousands.

Following the failed coup, Turkey has been under a state of emergency for almost two years and has seen a widespread crackdown on alleged supporters of Gulen. Erdogan accused his late ally and now nemesis, US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, of masterminding the coup.

If Erdogan wins both the presidency and control of Parliament, observers worry that Turkey could continue a slide from authoritarianism to outright dictatorship. He won nearly 10 percent of the vote in the last election, and if he were to get a bigger percentage this time, the ruling coalition may lose its majority.

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