Turkey’s Erdogan Wins Tense Elections

Sunday, May 28, 2023 | Tag Cloud

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

ISTANBUL (Worthy News) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won Sunday’s runoff elections in a significant setback to opposition parties who wanted to end his perceived authoritarian rule, official results showed.

The triumph of the conservative Muslim leader that appeared unlikely just weeks ago raised the prospect of more friction with Western governments and international investors.

Election officials said President Erdogan, 69, won another five years term with 52.14 percent of the votes, with only a small number still being counted.

His secular rival, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, 74, said, however, that the election had been “unfair.”

It wasn’t immediately clear how groups such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) would judge the elections.

However, HRW noted that over the last nine years, “there were thousands of prosecutions of journalists, political opponents, and others for criticizing the president and the government online.”

Erdogan became Turkish prime minister in 2003 and president in 2014.


As he was celebrating, several foreign leaders sent congratulations, realizing they would have to deal with the controversial leader for some time.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky joined the list of world leaders congratulating the Turkish leader.

Zelensky said he counted on “strengthening” ties between wartorn Ukraine and Turkey.

“We hope to develop our cooperation for the security and stability of Europe and further strengthen our strategic partnership for the benefit of our countries,” he wrote on the social media platform Twitter.

Turkey has tried to position itself as a peace broker between Russia and Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.

Earlier, Vladimir Putin sent warm congratulations to the Turkish leader, who also arranged grain deals between Moscow and Kyiv to help guarantee global food supplies.

Erdogan has survived turbulence in Turkey since joining an Islamist party and becoming hugely popular as mayor of Istanbul.


In the 1990s, Turkish politics was bitterly divided on religion and politics, and when Erdogan’s party was shut down. Erdogan was jailed and banned from being a legislator for life.

But in prison, Erdogan plotted an astonishing comeback, creating a new, more moderate party that eventually swept him to power.

However, he and his AK Party, rooted in conservative Islam, face public anger over soaring inflation and the aftermath of devastating earthquakes that killed some 50,000 people here and in neighboring Syria.

Opposition parties and Western governments have also expressed conceded over his perceived authoritarian style.

Over the last 10 years, he faced mounting criticism — domestically and internationally — for quashing dissent and adopting policies that critics say are typical of autocratic regimes.

Erdogan also took control of many of Turkey’s institutions – including much of the media and judiciary – steadily sidelining his opponents

It is a far cry from his first presidential decade, when Erdogan, former mayor of Istanbul, was applauded for transforming Turkey into an economic and political success story.


However, “This is time to unite and get together,” Erdogan told his supporters at the presidential palace in Ankara, the capital, after the vote.

He noticed that the CHP opposition party won 146 parliamentarians in the 2018 elections before going up to 169 in the recent parliamentary elections.

But, the veteran politician stressed that they are not more powerful because they are part of an alliance.

“He [the opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu] gave some of the seats to the other parties in his alliance, which went down to 129. Is 129 bigger than 146?” Erdogan asked.

Yet there were reports of isolated attacks against opposition members and observing underscoring the tense political landscape in which Erdogan and the opposition must navigate.

Christian advocacy group Open Doors also was expected to watch the impact of the ballot on minority Christians, where church leaders and other individuals have been attacked and, in some cases, killed.
Open Doors noticed increased Islamic pressure during Erdogan’s rule. It said that devoted Christians could face difficulties, for instance, in finding workplaces.

Additionally, several individuals, including church leaders and missionaries, were attacked and, in some cases, even killed by extremists in recent years. Those turning from Islam to Christianity are among the believers at most risk from authorities and their families, a situation rust was not elected to change fast regardless of the election outcome.

Christians comprise less than 0.2 percent of Turkey’s nearly 84 million mainly Muslim population, says the United State Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

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