Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared victory in a constitutional referendum granting him vastly increased executive powers.

On Sunday, Erdogan said that the country had made a historic decision by voting for the executive powers and that the “Yes” campaign had gained 51.5 percent of the votes in the referendum, which was held earlier in the day.

In late January, the Turkish parliament approved the 18-article constitutional change, which was submitted last December. A total of 339 legislators voted in favor of the move. The number of the parliamentarians who voted against the bill was 142.

“Turkey for the first time in its history has decided with the will of the parliament and its people on such an important change,” he said. “For the first time in the history of the Republic, we are changing our ruling system through civil politics. That is why it is very significant,” Erdogan added.

The director of Turkey’s electoral board also confirmed that “Yes” vote had won the referendum and that the final results would be announced within 11-12 days.

Erdogan also thanked Turkish voters in foreign countries who he said played a big part of the success in the referendum.

He further called on foreign countries to respect the results and to show greater awareness of Turkey’s “sensitivities” in the “fight against terror”.

“We would like other countries and institutions to show respect to the decision of the nation,” Erdogan said.