ANKARA, Turkey — Tayyip Erdogan secured his place in history as Turkey's first directly elected head of state Sunday, taking him a step closer to the presidential system he covets in a result his opponents fear heralds an increasingly authoritarian rule.
Results on Turkish television said Mr. Erdogan, the prime minister for more than a decade, had won 52 percent of the vote, 13 points more than his closest rival and avoiding the need for a second round runoff.
The chairman of the High Election Board confirmed Mr. Erdogan had a majority, with more than 99 percent of votes counted, and said full provisional figures would be announced today.
Turkey has emerged as a regional economic force under Mr. Erdogan, who has ridden a wave of religiously conservative support to transform the secular republic founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk on the ruins of the Ottoman empire in 1923.
But his critics warn that a President Erdogan would lead Turkey away from Mr. Ataturk's secular ideals.
Iran plane crash
TEHRAN, Iran — A locally built Iranian passenger plane crashed shortly after takeoff in Tehran on Sunday, killing 39 people and reviving questions about the safety of a cash-strapped aviation sector left hobbled by international sanctions.
President Hassan Rouhani offered his condolences to victims’ families and quickly ordered an investigation into the crash. Similar planes operated by Iranian carriers will be grounded until the probe is complete, he directed.
The plane was based on a relatively obscure Ukrainian design that has been involved in previous Iranian air disasters.
The Sepahan Air regional airliner, bound for the eastern town of Tabas, went down in a residential area shortly after takeoff at 9:20 a.m. from Tehran’s Mehrabad airport.
Ukraine rejects truce
KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s military demanded that pro-Russian rebels surrender and dismissed their offer of a cease-fire, as lawmakers prepared to consider new sanctions that may cut Russian shipments of natural gas to Europe.
Ukraine is trying to dislodge separatists from strongholds in Donetsk and Luhansk as Russia raises the pressure on its western neighbor to halt the campaign and allow immediate assistance.
As Ukraine wrestled with Russia over a military standoff, the nation’s lawmakers prepared to vote tomorrow on a sanctions bill that could block the transit of Russian oil and gas supplies to Europe. The Cabinet has approved the measure.
Protests in Pakistan
LAHORE, Pakistan — Pakistani police registered a murder case Sunday against an anti-government cleric after three policemen were killed in clashes with his supporters ahead of a demonstration.
The cleric, Tahir ul-Qadri, had called for protests Sunday, saying he wants to bring down the government by the end of the month because it is corrupt. Another protest, led by opposition politician Imran Khan, is due in the capital Thursday.
Also in the world ...
Russian President Vladimir Putin, staring down the deepening unrest in Ukraine, tried the role of peacemaker by brokering the first meeting in nine months between the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan following the deadliest clashes between the ex-Soviet republics in 20 years. ... A tour bus careened off a highway in Tibet, killing 44 people and injuring 11, China’s state news media reported Sunday.
—Compiled from news services
First Published August 11, 2014 12:00 AM