Erdogan wins Turkey's presidential election

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan won re-election on Sunday, May 28, extending his rule into a third decade in a country reeling from high inflation and the aftermath of an earthquake that levelled entire cities. 

Erdogan prevailed by winning more than 52% of the vote in Sunday’s presidential runoff, which came two weeks after he fell short of scoring an outright victory in the first round. A majority of Turkish voters in the second round chose him over challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu, showing their support for a man who they see as a strong, proven leader.

READ ALSO: Pochettino returns to Premier League, takes over at Chelsea

Following the results, Erdogan thanked the nation for giving him another five years, saying: “We hope to be worthy of your trust, as we have been for 21 years.” He further ridiculed his opponent, saying ‘Bye Bye Bye Kemal’, adding, “The only winner today is Turkey.” 

The result led to Erdogan supporters honking their cars, cheering and gathering in public squares with the leader booming out: “It is not only us who won, it is Turkey. “It is our nation that won with all its elements. It is our democracy.” 

Many analysts are shocked at Erdogan’s victory; he’s managed to win the elections despite the country’s inflation running at 50 per cent. There has been anger over the government’s response to the powerful earthquakes in February that left at least 50,000 people dead. 

Some analysts have said that another five years of Erdogan would mean a more assertive and authoritative rule from the leader. Erdogan has been in power since 2003, first as prime minister and then since 2014 he has been president of Turkey. 

In his years of rule, he has consolidated his power through constitutional changes, eroded the country’s democratic institutions, including the judiciary and media, and jailed many opponents. He has crushed anti-government protests and evaded a corruption investigation into his inner circle.

Such has been his crackdown that in its World Report 2022, Human Rights Watch said Erdogan’s AK party (AKP) has set back Turkey’s human rights record by decades. Sweden’s V-Dem Institute has designed the country as one of the world’s top 10 autrocratising countries and in 2018, Freedom House had downgraded the country’s status from “partly free” to “not free.” 

It is also believed that Erdogan may push for a stronger Islamic influence in the nation. Before he became president, Turkey was staunchly secular, so much so that the wearing of headscarves by women was banned in many official venues. But he has steadily pushed the nation into a more religious sphere. His government may come under pressure from these parties to pursue more Islamist policies. In his regime, he has expanded religious education and transformed the Hagia Sophia, Turkey’s most famous historic landmark, from a museum into a mosque.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *