Erdogan’s performance on predictable lines - GulfToday

Erdogan’s performance on predictable lines


Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Recep Tayyip Erdogan won the presidential run-off on Sunday. This was evident even during the inconclusive first round when he missed the 50 per cent mandated mark by 0.5 per cent. The general expectation, especially in the West, was that he might lose after 20 years in power. But the challenge proved to be inadequate.

The only solace for Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the presidential candidate of the united opposition, was that he gave a good fight in the run-off than in the first round. In the first round, Erdogan had 49.05 per cent of the vote while KIlicdaroglu had 44.2 per cent. But in the run-off, the Kilicdaroglu vote went up to 47. 84 per cent, and Erdogan had 52.16 per cent. The difference between the two candidates, which was about 5 per cent in the first was maintained in the run-off as well.  At the end of the day, what matters is who is the winner. Erdogan was a clear winner. Turkey’s English language newspaper Sabah noted that prominent Western media outlets which had opposed Erdogan acknowledged his victory. The newspaper cited the conservative British news weekly which calls itself as a newspaper, The Economist, of having carried a cover story with the headline, ‘Erdogan must go’ before the election, carried an article post-run-off saying, “As in many elections before, rumours of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s political demise turned out to be vastly exaggerated.”

Erdogan on his part declared after his victory that it was the victory of Turkey, and that he was grateful to all the people, including those who did not vote for him. He saw the election as an affirmation of the vibrant democracy of the country. He has also promised to solve the economic problems facing the country through the constitution of an expert managing committee.  Erdogan said in a statement, “Trust and stability. These are the two important concepts. We will establish an economy management based on these two concepts.” He promised to “maintain the momentum in the tourism industry which is the main source of income in the services industry.” He also said, “Now is the time to put the disputes and conflicts of the election period to one side and unite around our national goals.”

There has been a positive response to Erdogan’s re-election with world leaders congratulating him. United Arab Emirates President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed congratulated Erdogan on his victory through a telephone call. He wished Erdogan success in leading his country, and also hoped that cooperation will continue to strengthen relations between UAE and Turkey. Erdogan thanked His Highness the President for his good wishes.

American President Joe Biden tweeted, “I look forward to continuing to work together as NATO allies on bilateral issues and shared global challenges.”  Russian President Vladimir Putin said, as reported in a Kremlin website, “Your victory in these elections is the logical result of your dedicated work as head of the Turkish Republic, a clear evidence of the Turkish people’s support for your efforts to strengthen state sovereignty and pursue an independent foreign policy.” This is a direct reference to Erdogan’s mediatory role in the war in the Ukrainian war last November enabling Ukraine to transport grain from the Black Sea ports, despite Turkey being a member of NATO.

It is interesting in this context that European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, despite the EU differing sharply with Turkey’s foreign policy positions, in her congratulatory message to Erdogan said, “It is of strategic importance for both the EU and Turkey to work on advancing this relationship, for the benefit of our people.”  It is indeed rare that a presidential election, which is an internal affair of any country, should evoke so much international interest.

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