After winning the Presidential elections, Erdogan attempts to unite a divided Turkey amid tough conditions and challenges. He is notably faced with an economic crisis, exacerbated by his own inappropriate policies.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday confronted the tough task of uniting his deeply divided country after winning a historic run-off election to extend his two-decade rule to 2028.

Turkey’s longest-serving leader brushed aside a powerful opposition coalition, an economic crisis and anger following a devastating February earthquake to beat secular challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu in Sunday’s vote.

But the four-point victory margin was Erdogan’s narrowest of any past election, highlighting the sharp polarisation the Islamic-rooted conservative will contend with in his final term.

Relieving Turks of the country’s worst economic crisis since the 1990s is an urgent priority.

Inflation is running at more than 40 percent, partly exacerbated by Erdogan’s unorthodox policy of cutting interest rates to try to cool spiraling prices. He was always against higher interest rates because it is opposite to Islamic principles.

Analysts say Erdogan’s lavish campaign spending pledges and unwavering attachment to lower interest rates will further strain banks’ currency reserves and the lira, which edged down against the dollar on Monday.

A colossal reconstruction effort in Turkey’s southeast is still at an early stage after February’s earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people and destroyed infrastructure and livelihoods.

Official figures estimated the damage at more than $100 billion.

NATO partners are anxiously waiting for Ankara to approve Sweden’s stalled bid to join the US-led defence alliance.

Erdogan has blocked the application, accusing Stockholm of sheltering Turkish opposition figures with alleged links to outlawed Kurdish militants.

US President Joe Biden and Erdogan are due to talk on Monday, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told television channel A Haber.

NATO issues and the delivery of US F-16 fighter jets to Turkey are likely to be high on the agenda.

Biden needs Congress to approve their transfer and Kalin said US senators were using the jets “as political leverage”.

If the programme stalls, “it’s not the end of the world… we don’t allow them to take us as prisoners,” Kalin added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was one of the first leaders to congratulate Erdogan, and the Kremlin said it looked forward to achieving “very ambitious” goals with Turkey.

Ties with neighbouring Syria remain at a low ebb after Turkey backed rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad in the civil war. Recent Russian-mediated talks failed to achieve a breakthrough towards a normalisation of relations.

Erdogan’s inauguration ceremony, the nomination of a new cabinet and the sitting of the new parliament will follow the confirmation of the final election results this week.

Khalil Wakim, with AFP