The streets are packed with a sea of red Turkish flags, in every corner there are people chanting, singing and dancing. Cars honk their horns, their speakers blasting the pulsing campaign songs with the distinctive chorus of “Receeep Tayyyip Erdogan”.

The Turkish president declared victory a few hours earlier in a hotly contested election that is still dogged by controversy, even as supporters of his AKP party jubilantly fill the streets.

The crowd of revellers stretches for miles along the boulevard of Istanbul’s Golden Horn Park. Mohamed Yilmiz, a 25-year-old barber, came with his girlfriend and brother to celebrate. “Everyone knew this moment was coming and it feels like a festival,” he says.

Later he holds up a flare, chanting “Erdogan” over and over again, with a wide smile on his face. “I don’t think anyone else can run the country,” he says, “We trust in him because he’s the only one looking out for [Turkey] against foreign nations.”

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