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Updated: Sun, 10 Aug 2014 15:20:42 GMT | By The Associated Press, cbc.ca

Turkey's Erdogan captures presidential vote, election commission declares



Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan waves to the crowd in Istanbul August 10, 2014. Erdogan?said on Sunday the Turkish people had "shown their will" in a presidential election which local media and allies said he had won, but stopped short of formally declaring victory, saying he would make a full statement later. REUTERS/Osman Orsal (© TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan waves to the crowd in Istanbul August 10, 2014. Erdogan?said on Sunday the Turkish people had "shown their will" in a presidential election which local media and allies said he had won, but stopped short of formally declaring victory, saying he would make a full statement later. REUTERS/Osman Orsal (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR41VSV Osman Orsal/Reuters

The head of Turkey's election board has officially declared Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as the victor in the country's first ever presidential election.

The announcement came shortly after the main opposition candidate conceded defeat. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, who captured more than 35 per cent of the vote, congratulated Erdogan and wished him success in a concession speech in Istanbul late Sunday.

With nearly 52 per cent of ballot boxes counted, Erdogan had the support of 55.68 per cent of Turks, according to local media. The third candidate, SelahattinDemirtas, had 8.41 per cent.

The Anadolu agency has employees stationed at every ballot station, who send the results to its headquarters in Ankara. 

Now in his third term as prime minister at the head of the Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party, or AKP, Erdogan has been a polarizing figure.

He is fervently supported by many as a man of the people who has led Turkey through a period of economic prosperity. His critics, however, view him as an increasingly autocratic leader bent on concentrating power and imposing his religious and conservative views on a country founded on strong secular traditions.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag declared Erdogan the winner on his Twitter account.

"The chairman of the AK Party and the prime minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has become the first president elected by the people," Bozdag wrote.

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