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Turkey’s Erdogan Bags Victory in Presidential Election, Stretching Rule to 3rd Decade

Erdogan won with 52.14% of the vote, according to the preliminary official results

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Sadaf Hasan
Sadaf Hasan
Aspiring reporter covering trending topics

TURKEY: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has prevailed in Turkey’s presidential election, extending his power into a third decade by defeating opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu in the runoff vote on Sunday.

Erdogan’s triumph in Turkey elections

Erdogan won with 52.14% of the vote, according to the preliminary official results released by Turkey’s Supreme Election Council (YSK) on Sunday. Kilicdaroglu received 47.86% of the vote.

Photo Credit: Twitter/RTErdogan
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Speaking to tens of thousands of supporters in front of the presidential compound in Ankara, Erdogan urged people to put aside any disagreements and arguments over the election season and come together in favour of the country’s aspirations.

“We are not the only winners; the winner is Turkey. The winner is all parts of our society; our democracy is the winner,” said Erdogan.

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Erdogan stated that the government’s top goals would include battling inflation and mending the scars left by the devastating earthquake that struck Turkey and neighbouring Syria on February 6 and left more than 50,000 people dead.

Speaking in the Turkish capital, Ankara, at his party’s headquarters, Kilicdaroglu vowed to keep fighting until “real democracy” is achieved in Turkey.

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“This was the most unjust election period in our country’s history… We did not give in to the fearful atmosphere. Despite all the difficulties, the people’s desire to change an authoritarian administration was evident in this election,” he added.

Kilicdaroglu stated that what “truly makes me sad are the hard days ahead for our country. Foreign leaders that were among the first to congratulate Erdogan included Russia, Libya, Qatar, Iran, Algeria, Hungary, and the Palestinian Authority.

In a comment posted on the Kremlin’s website, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that the election was “clear evidence of the Turkish people’s support” for Erdogan’s efforts “to strengthen state sovereignty and pursue an independent foreign policy.”

Joe Biden, the president of the United States, also congratulated Erdogan on his election, saying in a tweet that he was looking forward to working with him “as NATO allies” on “bilateral issues and shared global challenges.”

Erdogan’s followers gathered in Taksim Square in Istanbul, yelling his name and “God is great.”

Following the announcement of Erdogan’s lead in the early results, hundreds of people gathered outside the Justice and Development (AK) Party’s Istanbul headquarters. Some others brought their kids, while others waved flags, honked their horns, and lit flares and rockets.

An Erdogan supporter, said, “I hope he lives forever,” while speaking outside the party headquarters during the celebrations.

Others used a more religious tone. “Muslims should rejoice. The whole world will know Muslims better. The Islamic world should rejoice,” a 33-year-old person said.

However, Mehmet Karli, Kilicdaroglu’s advisor, referred to Erdogan’s triumph as a “pyrrhic victory” and charged that the president had stoked unrest prior to the vote.

Karli added that President Erdogan appears to have won these elections, but calling this a victory would be a mistake. According to Karli, a pyrrhic victory is a better term to characterise this situation.

Erdogan’s triumph over Kilicdaroglu, a 74-year-old bureaucrat and leader of the CHP, has left Turkey in a very divided state. Despite holding a roughly five-point advantage against Kilicdaroglu in the first round of voting on May 14, Erdogan was unable to reach the required winning percentage of 50%.

The president’s parliamentary bloc gained a majority of seats in the legislative elections on the same day. Election officials earlier said that voting was proceeding “without any issues.”

Erdogan’s chances of winning Sunday’s second and final presidential election were significantly increased last week when third-place candidate Sinan Ogan, who received 5% of the first-round vote, publicly endorsed the strongman leader.

Many polls had mistakenly anticipated that Kilicdaroglu would win the May 14 election, which witnessed a high turnout of around 90% nationwide. Six opposition factions came together as an unprecedented unified bloc behind Kilicdaroglu in an attempt to dethrone Erdogan.

The opposition had referred to the election as the final defence of Turkish democracy, accusing Erdogan of destroying the country’s democratic institutions during his 20-year leadership, weakening the judiciary, and crushing dissent.

Erdogan also has to contend with a failing economy and a bungled initial response to the earthquake in February. The administration recognised its “mistakes” during its rescue operation and also apologised to the public.

Erdogan’s opponents also brought up the AK party’s loose building standards, which they claimed exacerbated the early 2000s development boom and raised the death toll. They added that the response to the earthquake underlined Erdogan’s alleged hollowing out of governmental institutions in an effort to increase his level of control.

They also added that the country’s financial crisis, which led to a depreciation of the currency and an increase in costs, is also primarily Erdogan’s fault. Critics claimed that because the president kept interest rates low, inflation was unfettered.

The defeated opposition in Turkey will now need to regroup before the 2024 local elections.

Also Read: Erdogan Endorsed by Sinan Ogan in Light of Presidential Run-off in Turkey 


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