ISTANBUL (AFP) - Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was set to win a crushing first round victory on Sunday in Turkey's presidential elections, initial results said.
Mr Erdogan was set to win 55.2 per cent of the vote, his main rival Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu 36.1 per cent of the vote and Kurdish candidate Selahattin Demirtas 8.7 per cent of the vote, Turkish federal television channels said, based on a 51 per cent vote count.
If the trend continues, Mr Erdogan, 60, is poised to become Turkey's first president elected by popular vote, on a mandate to create what he calls a "new Turkey".
A crushing victory will cement Mr Erdogan's position as a strongman leader. He has pledged to become an active head of state after dominating the Turkish political scene for 11 years as prime minister.
Mr Erdogan is due to exercise the president's full powers defined in the Constitution, unlike his predecessors, including the outgoing Abdullah Gul, who have played a largely ceremonial role.