VIDEO | Andonovic: Erdoğan's narrow victory for a challenging mandate

Analysis with Dejan Andonović/ Photo Sloboden Pechat, EPA, NECATI SAVAS

Recep Tayyip Erdogan cemented his status as the most powerful figure in Turkey's modern history after winning a presidential runoff that extended his two-decade rule until 2028.

The longest-serving leader in Turkey's recent history won Sunday's presidential runoff against his opponent, opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu, extending his rule into a third decade, based on the results of nearly all ballots counted.

The victory, though many called it pyrrhic, still belied polls that predicted he was closer to defeat than ever.

Erdogan beat his secular opposition rival Kilicdaroglu by four percentage points – the narrowest of any election, but enough to end his political career undefeated in national elections.

"We have completed the second round of the presidential elections in favor of our nation. The only winner of this election is Turkey, all 85 million people won. Your will has become Turkey's indestructible force," Erdogan said in an address to supporters, right after the polls closed.

The official Supreme Electoral Commission has yet to confirm the results. Erdogan in the first round, according to the first results, Erdogan had a big lead, which decreased during the evening, but he still won in the end.

Turkish public broadcaster TRT reported that the turnout was 84,88 percent.

Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the social democratic Republican People's Party and joint candidate of the six-party alliance, according to polls ahead of the first round, had an advantage, and some even thought that he would manage to secure victory even then.

But that did not happen, and since the third candidate from the first round, the nationalist Sinan Ogan, declared that he would support Erdogan in the second round, the election became even more uncertain, but the priority was given to the current president,

Political analysts say Erdogan's victory highlights the polarization in Turkish society, particularly the divide between Islamists and secularists. While much of Turkey's coast, major cities and the largely Kurdish southeast voted for Kilicdaroglu, the interior of the country strongly supported Erdogan.

Opposition supporters also argue that the election is a reflection of Erdogan's rigid and undemocratic rule, including his near-total influence over the country's media, which is largely controlled by groups of corporations friendly to Erdogan's ruling party.

Many of the world's analysts believe that after the re-election Erdogan faces great challenges in the new presidential term.

According to Bloomberg, the most important question for investors now is whether Erdogan will stick to his promise to keep economic policy alive after the exodus of foreign money. What matters to world leaders is how Turkey maintains its delicate balance between NATO allies and Russia as President Vladimir Putin continues to wage war in Ukraine.

"He may have extended his record reign, but his new term will be full of challenges from the economy to foreign policy," experts agree.

When it comes to foreign policy, another five years of Erdogan is likely to see Turkey reassert its role as a buffer zone for migrants heading to Europe. Erdogan will also work to maintain Black Sea grain exports after securing another extension to the deal two weeks ago.

The Turkish president also plans to push for peace in Ukraine, but is likely to continue to refrain from imposing sanctions on Russia because Turkey sees them as counterproductive, Turkish experts familiar with Erdogan's intentions say.

The question remains whether Turkey will create new problems for Sweden's membership in the NATO alliance.

In his new term, Erdogan is expected to increasingly prioritize the development of Turkey's domestic defense industry as he seeks a military advantage to support his aspirations to make Turkey a regional power, sources told Bloomberg.

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