September 24, 2023

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan received reelection Sunday, in response to unofficial outcomes, in a victory that extends his more and more authoritarian rule into a 3rd decade in a rustic reeling from excessive inflation and the aftermath of an earthquake that leveled total cities.

With a 3rd time period, Erdogan can have a fair stronger hand domestically and internationally, and the election outcomes can have implications far past Ankara. Turkey stands on the crossroads of Europe and Asia, and it performs a key position in NATO.

With practically 99% of poll bins opened, outcomes from competing information businesses confirmed Erdogan with 52% of the vote, in contrast with 48% for his challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

In his first feedback for the reason that polls closed, Erdogan spoke to supporters on a marketing campaign bus outdoors his dwelling in Istanbul.

“I thank every member of our nation for entrusting me with the duty to manipulate this nation as soon as once more for the upcoming 5 years,” he stated. “We hope to be worthy of your belief, as we now have been for 21 years.”

He ridiculed his challenger for his loss, saying “bye bye bye, Kemal,” as supporters booed.

“The one winner at present is Turkey,” Erdogan stated. He promised to work laborious for Turkey’s second century. The nation marks its centennial this yr.

“Nobody can look down on our nation,” he stated.

Supporters of the divisive populist have been celebrating even earlier than the ultimate outcomes arrived, waving Turkish or ruling celebration flags, and honking automotive horns, chanting his title and “within the title of God, God is nice.”

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Celebratory gunfire was heard in a number of Istanbul neighborhoods.

On the worldwide stage, Erdogan’s authorities vetoed Sweden’s bid to affix NATO and bought Russian missile-defense methods, which prompted the US to oust Turkey from a U.S.-led fighter-jet challenge. Nevertheless it additionally helped dealer a vital deal that allowed Ukrainian grain shipments and averted a world meals disaster.

Erdogan, who has been at Turkey’s helm for 20 years, got here simply wanting victory within the first spherical of elections on Might 14. It was the primary time he did not win an election outright, however he made up for it Sunday.

His efficiency got here regardless of crippling inflation and the results of a devastating earthquake three months in the past.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban congratulated Erdogan through Twitter for an “unquestionable election victory,” and Qatar’s ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani wished the Turkish president success in a tweet. Different congratulations poured in from Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Libya, Algeria, Serbia and Uzbekistan.

The 2 candidates provided sharply completely different visions of the nation’s future, and its latest previous.

Critics blame Erdogan’s unconventional financial insurance policies for skyrocketing inflation that has fueled a cost-of-living disaster. Many additionally faulted his authorities for a gradual response to the earthquake that killed greater than 50,000 individuals in Turkey.

Within the primarily Kurdish-populated province of Diyarbakir — one among 11 areas that was hit by the Feb. 6 earthquake — 60-year-old retiree Mustafa Yesil stated he voted for “change.”

“I’m not blissful in any respect with the best way this nation goes. Let me be clear, if this present administration continues, I don’t see good issues for the longer term,” he stated. “I see that it’s going to finish badly — this administration has to vary.”

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Mehmet Yurttas, an Erdogan supporter, disagreed.

“I consider that our homeland is on the peak, in an excellent situation,” the 57-year-old store proprietor stated. “Our nation’s trajectory is excellent and it’ll proceed being good.”

Erdogan has retained the backing of conservative voters who stay dedicated to him for lifting Islam’s profile within the Turkey, which was based on secular rules, and for elevating the nation’s affect in world politics.

Erdogan, 69, is about to stay in energy till 2028. A religious Muslim, he heads the conservative and non secular Justice and Improvement Get together, or AKP. Erdogan remodeled the presidency from a largely ceremonial position to a robust workplace by a narrowly received 2017 referendum that scrapped Turkey’s parliamentary system of governance. He was the primary immediately elected president in 2014, and received the 2018 election that ushered within the govt presidency.

The primary half of Erdogan’s tenure included reforms that allowed the nation to start talks to affix the European Union, and financial progress that lifted many out of poverty. However he later moved to suppress freedoms and the media and concentrated extra energy in his personal fingers, particularly after a failed coup try that Turkey says was orchestrated by the U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen. The cleric denies involvement.

Erdogan’s rival was a soft-mannered former civil servant who has led the pro-secular Republican Folks’s Get together, or CHP, since 2010. Kilicdaroglu campaigned on guarantees to reverse Erdogan’s democratic backsliding, to revive the economic system by reverting to extra typical insurance policies, and to enhance ties with the West.

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In a frantic effort to succeed in out to nationalist voters within the runoff, Kilicdaroglu vowed to ship again refugees and dominated out peace negotiations with Kurdish militants if he’s elected.

The defeat for Kilicdaroglu provides to an extended listing of electoral losses to Erdogan, and places stress on him to step down as celebration chairman.

Erdogan’s AKP celebration and its allies retained a majority of seats in parliament following a legislative election that was additionally held on Might 14.

Sunday additionally marked the tenth anniversary of the beginning of mass anti-government protests that broke out over plans to uproot timber in Istanbul’s Gezi Park, and have become one of the crucial critical challenges to Erdogan’s authorities.

Erdogan’s response to the protests, by which eight individuals have been convicted for alleged involvement, was a harbinger of a crackdown on civil society and freedom of expression.

Following the Might 14 vote, worldwide observers pointed to the criminalization of dissemination of false data and on-line censorship as proof that Erdogan had an “unjustified benefit.” Additionally they stated that robust turnout confirmed the resilience of Turkish democracy.

Erdogan and pro-government media portrayed Kilicdaroglu, who acquired the backing of the nation’s pro-Kurdish celebration, as colluding with “terrorists” and of supporting what they described as “deviant” LGBTQ rights.

In his victory speech, he repeated these themes, saying LGBTQ individuals can not “infiltrate” his ruling celebration or its nationalist allies.


Bilginsoy reported from Istanbul. Mucahit Ceylan contributed from Diyarbakir, Turkey and Cinar Kiper contributed from Bodrum, Turkey.