Live Updates: Turkey Awaits Outcome of Pivotal Elections

In December 2002 at the White House, President George W. Bush greeted an up-and-coming politician from Turkey whose newly formed party had just won a surprising majority in parliament.

“Welcome to the home of one of your country’s best friends and allies,” Mr. Bush told the politician, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “You are a strategic ally and friend of the United States.”

Two months later, Mr. Erdogan became prime minister, rocketing him to the top of Turkey’s political system and kicking off his two-decade tenure as his country’s most powerful figure.

Turkey’s election on Sunday is in many ways a referendum on the dramatic changes that Mr. Erdogan has brought in 11 years as prime minister and nine as president. Once a new political force promising to clean up corruption, expand the economy and strengthen ties with the West, he is now a nearly all-powerful leader, blamed for Turkey’s sinking currency and criticized for undermining democracy.

Mr. Erdogan, 69, grew up poor in…

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This article was written by The New York Times and originally published on