Turkey is at the crossroads of Europe and Asia and plays an important role in NATO.
ANKARA, TURKIYE — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was re-elected on Sunday, extending his increasingly authoritarian rule to 30 years as the country reels from high inflation and the aftermath of a city-wide earthquake.
A third term would give Erdogan even greater powers at home and abroad, and the outcome of the election would have ramifications well beyond the Turkish government. Turkey is at the crossroads of Europe and Asia and plays an important role in NATO.
More than 99 percent of the ballot boxes were opened, with Erdogan receiving 52 percent of the vote and his rival Kemal Kirikdaroglu winning 48 percent, according to unofficial results from rival news agencies. Turkey’s electoral commission chief conceded the victory and said the result would be Erdogan’s re-election, even taking into account the outstanding votes.
Erdogan, in his first comments since the vote ended, thanked the public for entrusting him with the presidency for another five years.
“We want to be as trustworthy as we have been for 21 years,” he told supporters on the election bus outside his home in Istanbul.
As supporters booed him, he said “bye-bye Kemal” and mocked his challenger’s loss.
“Today’s only winner is Turkey,” Erdogan said, pledging to work hard for Turkey’s second century. This country will celebrate its 100th anniversary this year. “No one can look down on our country.”
Mr. Kilicdaroglu campaigned on promises to reverse President Erdogan’s democratic setbacks, return to more traditional policies, revive the economy and improve relations with the West. He said the election was “the most illegitimate ever” and that all state resources had been mobilized for Erdogan.
“Until true democracy comes to our country, we will remain at the forefront of this battle,” he said in Ankara. He thanked the more than 25 million people who voted for him and asked them to “stay right.”
The public has shown their willingness to “change the authoritarian government despite all pressures,” he said.
Supporters of the divisive populist Erdogan took to the streets to celebrate, waving Turkish and ruling party flags, honking car horns and chanting Erdogan’s name. Celebratory gunfire was heard in several parts of Istanbul.
Erdogan’s government vetoed Sweden’s offer to join NATO and bought Russian missile defense systems, forcing the US to bar Turkey from US-led fighter jet projects. But Turkey also helped broker a crucial deal that allowed Ukrainian grain shipments and averted a global food crisis.
Stephen A. Cook, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations, said Turkey is likely to “move the goalposts” on Sweden’s NATO membership as it seeks demands from the United States.
He also spoke about the introduction of a new constitution. President Erdoğan will push the introduction of the new constitution even further to ensure reforms overseen by his conservative and religious Justice and Development Party (AKP). He said it was likely to move forward.
Erdogan, who has been at the helm of Turkey for 20 years, fell just short of victory in the first round of elections on May 14. It was the first time he missed out on an outright victory in an election, but he made a comeback on Sunday.
His performance was achieved despite devastating inflation and the effects of the devastating earthquake three months earlier.
Congratulations poured in from world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who are at war in Ukraine.
Putin said Erdogan’s victory was “clear evidence” that the Turkish people support his efforts to “strengthen national sovereignty and pursue an independent foreign policy.”
President Zelensky said he looked forward to building a partnership between the two countries and strengthening cooperation “for the security and stability of Europe.”
The two candidates presented very different visions on: future of the countryand its recent past.
Critics have accused Erdogan’s unconventional economic policies of spiking inflation and sparking a cost-of-living crisis. Many also blamed the government for its slow response to the earthquake. killed over 50,000 people Turkish people.
Erdogan has maintained his support of conservative voters devoted to him by raising the profile of Islam in Turkey, which was founded on secular principles, and increasing the country’s influence in world politics. .
In Ankara, President Erdogan’s voter Hasel Yalsin said Turkey’s future is great. “Of course Erdogan is the winner… Who else? He made everything for us,” said Yarushin. “God bless you!”
Erdogan, a 69-year-old Muslim, plans to remain in power until 2028.
He narrowly won the 2017 referendum to abolish Turkey’s system of parliamentary governance, transforming the presidency from a largely ceremonial role to a powerful one. He became the first directly elected president in 2014 and won the 2018 election that led to the inauguration of the executive branch.
The first half of Erdogan’s presidency included reforms that enabled the country to begin negotiations for accession to the European Union and economic growth that lifted many people out of poverty. But then he moved to repress freedoms and the media, taking even more power into his own hands, especially in the wake of a failed coup that Turkey claims was orchestrated by U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen. concentrated on The clergy have denied any involvement.
Erdogan’s rival was a soft-spoken former civil servant who has led the pro-secular Republican People’s Party (CHP) since 2010.
with desperate effort reach out to nationalist voters In the runoff, Mr. Kilicdaroglu pledged to repatriate the refugees if elected and ruled out peace talks with Kurdish militants.
Ahmet Koyun, a 37-year-old metalworker in Kurdish-majority Diyarbakir, said everyone will have to accept the consequences.
“On behalf of the people, it saddens me to see such a corrupt and tainted government again in power. Mr Kemal would have been a great man for our country to at least change the situation,” he said. Told.
Erdogan’s AKP party and its allies retained their majority in parliamentary elections, also held on May 14.
Sunday also marked the 10th anniversary of the start of large-scale anti-government protests that erupted over plans to uproot a tree in Istanbul’s Gezi Park, posing one of the most serious challenges for the Erdogan government.
Erdogan’s response to protests 8 people were convictedit was a harbinger of the crackdown on civil society and freedom of expression.
After the May 14 vote, international observers pointed to the dissemination of false information and the criminalization of online censorship as evidence of Erdogan’s “unfair advantage”. They also said the high voter turnout showed the resilience of Turkish democracy.
Erdoğan and pro-government media reported that Mr Kilicdaroglu, who is backed by the country’s pro-Kurdish political parties, was in cahoots with “terrorists” to support what they described as “deviant” LGBTQ rights. .
In his victory speech, he repeated these themes, saying LGBTQ people could not “infiltrate” the ruling party or its nationalist allies.
Birginsoy reported from Istanbul. Mucahit Ceylan contributed from Diyarbakir, Turkey and Cinar Kiper from Bodrum, Turkey.
https://www.wfaa.com/article/news/nation-world/incumbent-erdogan-wins-turkeys-presidential-runoff/507-4709983a-c929-448e-97ab-46bb832f81eb Türkiye presidential run-off election: Erdogan declares victory