ISTANBUL, Turkey, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a landslide victory in the country's presidential elections Sunday, extending his 12 years in power.
Erdogan was named the winner during preliminary results, allowing him to avoid a runoff. With 99 percent reporting, Erdogan received 52 percent of the vote, overwhelmingly outpacing his opponent, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, who brought in just 38 percent.
"Without a doubt, new Turkey, great Turkey, leading Turkey has won today. We are closing the doors on one era, and we are now taking our first step to a new phase," Erdogan said in his speech. "We will face down whoever threatens our national security."
Upon his victory, he proposed reforms to closer emulate the U.S. system of government, with more power consolidated in the executive office. Previously, the position of the president has been more ceremonial. Leaders of the opposing Republican party said the changes would lead to Erdogan creating an authoritarian regime.
The strong backing Erdogan saw in the election was a significant change from six months ago when protests erupted in the streets over a corruption scandal involving the president-elect and his allies. Conservative Muslims rallied support for Erdogan and his Islamic-based policy after feeling marginalized by the secular movement in Turkey.
Erdogan will be sworn into office August 28.