Turkish President Erdogan wins the run-off election and is expected to stay in power until 2028


The President of Türkiye Recep Tayyip Erdogan won his re-election on Sundaythe head of Turkey’s Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) announced on Sunday, declaring Erdogan the winner of a historic runoff election set to extend his 20-year rule to 2028.

YSK leader Ahmet Yener said that Erdogan was elected the new president with 52.14% of the vote. “Even if all the results that have not yet entered the system go to a presidential candidate, the results will not change,” he said.

With a third term in office, Erdogan will have an even stronger hand at home and abroad, and the election results will have repercussions far beyond Ankara. Turkey is at the crossroads between Europe and Asia and plays a key role in NATO.

In his first comments since the polls closed, Erdogan spoke to supporters on a campaign bus in front of his home in Istanbul.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Emine Erdogan arrive at a polling station to cast their ballots during the run-off in Turkey's presidential election May 28, 2023 in Istanbul, Turkey.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Emine Erdogan arrive at a polling station to cast their ballots during the run-off in Turkey’s presidential election May 28, 2023 in Istanbul, Turkey.

MURAD SEZER/Getty Images

“I thank every member of our nation for entrusting me with the responsibility of once again leading this country for the next five years,” he said. “We hope to earn your trust, just as we have for the past 21 years.”

He mocked his challenger for his loss and said “Bye, bye Kemal” while the fans booed.

“The only winner today is Turkey,” said Erdogan. He promised to work hard for Turkey’s second century. The country is celebrating its centenary this year.

“No one can look down on our nation,” he said.

Erdogan was lauded in his first decade as head of state for turning Turkey into an economic and political success story, but over the past decade he has faced increasing criticism at home and abroad for suppressing dissent and Adoption of rules and laws typical of autocratic regimes.

Turkey, once a poster child for developing countries, is also currently struggling with high inflation and a cost-of-living crisis, which opponents and economists regularly blame on Erdogan’s unorthodox economic policies.

Erdogan’s main competitor, KiIicdaroglu, was a secular social-democratic politician who had campaigned for messages of freedom and democracy. The opposition alliance he represents had promised to reverse constitutional changes introduced after a referendum in 2017 The President’s powers have been greatly expandedand restore the parliamentary system.

Supporters of the divisive populist celebrated even before the final results were known, waving Turkish or ruling party flags, honking car horns, chanting his name and “In the name of God, God is great.”

Solemn shots were heard in several districts of Istanbul.

On the international scene, Erdogan’s government vetoed Sweden’s NATO entry and bought Russian missile defense systems, prompting the United States to oust Turkey from a US-led warplane project. But it also helped broker a crucial deal that enabled Ukrainian grain shipments and averted a global food crisis.

Erdogan, who has led Turkey for 20 years, narrowly missed victory in the first round of elections on May 14. It was the first time he hadn’t quite won an election, but he made up for it on Sunday.

Its performance came despite crippling inflation and the effects of a devastating earthquake three months ago.

Hungary’s far-right prime minister Victor Orban Congratulated Erdogan via Twitter on an “undeniable election victory”, and Qatar’s ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani wished the Turkish president every success in a tweet. Other congratulations came from Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Libya, Algeria, Serbia and Uzbekistan.

The two candidates offered completely different ideas about the country’s future and its recent past.

Critics blame Erdogan’s unconventional economic policies for the skyrocketing inflation that has fueled a cost-of-living crisis. Many also demonstrated his government’s slow response to the earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people in Turkey.

In the mainly Kurdish province of Diyarbakir – one of eleven regions affected by the disaster devastating February 6 earthquake – Pensioner Mustafa Yesil, 60, said he voted for ‘change’.

“I am not at all satisfied with the development of this country. Let me be clear: if the current government carries on, I don’t see good things for the future,” he said. “I see it’s going to end badly – this government needs to change.”

Mehmet Yurtas, an Erdogan supporter, disagreed.

“I believe our homeland is at its peak, in very good shape,” said the 57-year-old shopkeeper. “The development of our country is very good and it will continue to be good.”

Erdogan has garnered the support of conservative voters, who remain loyal to him for raising the profile of Islam in a Turkey founded on secular principles and increasing the country’s influence in world politics.

Erdogan, 69, is now set to remain in power until 2028. As a devout Muslim, he heads the conservative and religious Justice and Development Party (AKP). Erdogan transformed the presidency from a largely ceremonial role into a powerful office with a narrowly won referendum in 2017 that abolished Turkey’s parliamentary system of government. He was the first directly elected President in 2014 and won the 2018 election that heralded the inauguration of the Executive President.

The first half of Erdogan’s tenure included reforms that allowed the country to start talks about joining the European Union and economic growth that lifted many people out of poverty. But later he went on to suppress liberties and the media, concentrating more power in his own hands, especially after one failed coup attempt which Turkey says was staged by US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen. The priest denies involvement.

In a desperate bid to reach nationalist voters in the runoff, Kilicdaroglu vowed to send back refugees and ruled out peace talks with Kurdish militants if elected.

Kilicdaroglu’s defeat adds to Erdogan’s long list of electoral defeats and puts him under pressure to step down as party leader.

Erdogan’s AKP party and its allies retained a majority of seats in parliament after a parliamentary election also held on May 14.

Sunday also marked the 10th anniversary of the start of mass anti-government protests that erupted over plans to uproot trees in Istanbul’s Gezi Park, becoming one of the biggest challenges facing Erdogan’s government.

Erdogan’s response to the protests, in which eight people were sentenced for alleged involvement, heralded a crackdown on civil society and freedom of expression.

After the May 14 vote, international observers pointed to the criminalization of spreading false information and online censorship as evidence that Erdogan had an “undue advantage”. They also said that the high turnout shows the resilience of Turkey’s democracy.

Erdogan and pro-government media portrayed Kilicdaroglu, who garnered the support of the country’s pro-Kurdish party, as collaborating with “terrorists” and supporting what they described as “deviant” LGBTQ rights.

In his victory speech, he reiterated these themes, saying LGBTQ people cannot “infiltrate” his ruling party or their nationalist allies.

Pinar Sevinclidir contributed to the coverage.

Source link

Leave a Comment