Recep Tayyip Erdogan~, president of Turkey, has been given another five years in office, ensuring his continued leadership of the country at the crossroads of Europe and Asia and a pivotal member of NATO. After an earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people, he must now deal with soaring inflation, which has fuelled a cost-of-living issue, and begin reconstruction.
Two weeks after falling short of an outright victory in the first round, Erdogan garnered more than 52% of the vote in Sunday’s presidential runoff. Kemal Kilicdaroglu, his opponent, promised to return to democratic principles, embrace more traditional economic policies, and enhance connections with the West in an effort to counter Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian tendencies. Voters ultimately went with the candidate they believe will be the most effective leader.
In two separate addresses in Istanbul and Ankara, Erdogan expressed his gratitude to the Turkish people for re-electing him as president. Outside the presidential palace in Ankara, Erdogan declared, “The only winner today is Turkey,” and vowed to do his best for Turkey’s second century, which he dubbed the “Turkish century.” This year, the nation celebrates its centenary. Kilicdaroglu called this election the “most unjust ever” because of the way the state had been mobilized to help Erdogan win.
In Ankara, he vowed that his group would remain “at the forefront of this struggle” until democracy was established throughout Turkey. Erdogan’s supporters flocked to the streets to celebrate, waving Turkish or governing party flags, blaring car horns, and screaming his name. Erdogan is a polarizing populist and a brilliant orator. Several districts in Istanbul heard celebratory gunshots.
By winning a referendum to abolish Turkey’s parliamentary system of government by a razor-thin margin in 2017, Erdogan elevated the president from a primarily ceremonial position to a strong office. He won the 2014 election that established the modern office of the president and the 2018 election that made him president for life. Erdogan is currently in the midst of his second term as president. If early elections are called by parliament, where his ruling party and allies hold a majority, he may perhaps seek for another term. Critics said Erdogan couldn’t run again because he’d already served two terms as president before the new system was implemented, but he justified his candidature by citing constitutional changes that established the executive presidency.
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