Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan re-elected to a new presidential term with 52% of the vote on Sunday, promised unity in support of national values.
Erdogan won the re-election with 52% in second round
Erdogan was re-elected president of Turkey in the second round of elections, gaining 52.16% of the vote, according to the Electoral Commission.
The Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Erdogan’s victory speech in Ankara.
“We respect the will of the voters, as we have done in all previous elections. We are not the only ones who won. Turkey won; democracy won! There were no losers in the May 28 elections; all 85 million people of Turkey won. The time has come for unity and cohesion in the name of national goals and ideas,” Erdogan said.
Fear and hopes in the West
The West is expecting changes after Erdogan won the election and remained in power. In particular, the re-elected president could move the NATO member state further away from the liberal secular West, bringing it closer to Russia. Or, instead, “he may be more open to alternatives.”
The West hopes that Erdogan will not be able to run again in the future. Thus, he can be freed from the need to make populist promises to the nationalist electorate and make crucial decisions. This means he will be more open to talks with Western states on several topics.
The West supports Erdogan’s plans to reduce tensions with his neighbours. This includes Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, and Armenia. In some respects, even Erdogan’s re-election is a good sign for Western nations.
Turkey and Sweden’s path to NATO
One of the first tests for Erdogan will be the NATO summit, as he will be asked to override Turkey’s veto on Sweden’s membership in the Alliance. Sweden, home to many Kurds, is currently trying to rationalize some of Erdogan’s demands on them. This includes the extradition of 140 Kurds, whose names, as noted in the media, have not been handed over to the Swedish government.
Stockholm is also tightening anti-terrorism laws to please Ankara and is ready to examine evidence that the Kurdish community in Sweden has become a significant source of funding for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which the EU and Turkey have recognized as a terrorist organization. However, it is worth noting that the right-wing Swedish government cannot order its judges to extradite Kurds.
According to media reports, the issue of Sweden’s veto of NATO membership is also linked to the US-blocked arms sales to Turkey, “not to mention the future status of the S-400 missile battery Ankara bought from Russia.” However, the United States is ready to lift the blockade, approve the sale of $20 billion worth of F16 aircraft, and open a new chapter with Turkey.
Erdogan and his ties to Russia
The media also noted the re-elected president’s ties to his Russian dictator Putin in the context of his war against Ukraine. In particular, during the election campaign, Erdogan said that Turkey and Russia have a special relationship and also mentioned personal relations with Putin. According to the Turkish president, this allegedly gives him a good position to mediate in the Russia-Ukraine war.
Earlier, U.S. officials had travelled to Ankara to call on Erdogan to crack down on Turkish businesses that act as a tube to circumvent Western sanctions against Russia in support of Ukraine. However, the issues of Turkish deals with fined Russian companies, trade-in Western-made products with the aggressor state Russia, and exports of so-called dual-use goods to Russia have little effect.
Kilicdaroglu called the election “the most unfair election process in recent years.”
Erdogan’s rival, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and presidential candidate of the National Alliance, received 47.84% of the vote with 99.85% of the ballot boxes opened. This indicates a deep split in Turkey.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, a presidential candidate from the National Alliance, called this election “the most unfair election process in recent years.”
“I have fought for you to live in prosperity, fertility and peace, and I will continue to do so,” Kilicdaroglu said.
Kilicdaroglu also emphasized that he would continue the struggle for democracy in Turkey and called for support on this path.
“We have experienced the most unfair election process in recent years. All the capabilities of the state were mobilized for one political party. They were placed under the feet of one person,” Kilicdaroglu said.
Erdogan defined critical issues in Turkey
Recep Erdogan assured that, given the completion of the electoral process in Turkey, the government intends to focus all its time and energy on contributing to Turkey’s development. Erdogan said that inflation is Turkey’s most pressing problem.
The election was considered one of the most significant for Turkey, as the opposition believed it had a good chance of overthrowing Erdogan and changing his policies.
Erdogan has been in power in Turkey since 2003, first as prime minister and then as president.
The critical issues in this Turkish election were the rapid increase in inflation, the cost of living, and the consequences of the devastating earthquakes that claimed more than 50,000 lives.