Recep Tayyip Erdogan has become Turkish people's hero on the heels of 11 years of strong premiership, Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said Sunday night after Erdogan won the country's first direct presidential election.
"Collaboration of various political parties, conglomeration of this or that group and some internal and external collaborators were of no use," Arinc told state-owned TRT television.
Erdogan was elected Sunday by an absolute majority, securing 51.96 percent of the vote, according to unofficial counts. Without giving the exact numbers, the Supreme Election Board confirmed late Sunday that Erdogan had won outright, declaring a scheduled Aug. 24 run-off election null and void.
His term of office will be five years.
"The vote he garnered did not come solely from AK Party supporters; it includes votes from supporters of Nationalist Movement Party, Grand Unity Party, Felicity Party, and even Republican People's Party," Arinc said.
He said that Erdogan's main rival Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu was a figure whose knowledge on Turkey was limited and that he fell short of maintaining solid public relations during his electoral campaign.
Ihsanoglu, the joint candidate of Turkey's two largest opposition parties, claimed 38.33 percent of the Sunday's vote. Selahattin Demirtas, the candidate of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democracy Party, garnered 9.71 percent.
Arinc said that Erdogan would end his affair with the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party following the announcement of the official results.
"AK Party has an executive board meeting tomorrow. After the meeting, a road map might come up regarding who will lead the party," he said.
Stressing that current President Abdullah Gul has performed a powerful presidency during his seven-year term, Arinc said: "Erdogan will carry his strength, popularity, charisma and achievements to the post of presidency as well. We will see better days."
- 'AA achieves great sucess, again'
Arinc also praised Anadolu Agency's election coverage which once more provided objective and fast reporting of the results.
"AA aims to become one of the five best news agencies worldwide. It has shown that it already deserves this with its success. I congratulate all AA staff, espacially its director general," Arinc said.
Sunday's election was widely seen as a referendum on Erdogan's leadership as prime minister and head of the ruling party.
More than 53 million Turks were eligible to vote Sunday, and the turnout was at 73 percent according to unofficial results.