Erdogan celebrates presidential runoff victory in Turkey

Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan celebrate as the president declared victory in the country's presidential elections. (Photo: Dilara Senkaya/Reuters)

According to the country's Supreme Election Council and unofficial data from the state-run Anadolu Agency, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won re-election in a tense run-off after failing to secure the required majority of votes in the first round on May 14.

According to the Supreme Election Council, Erdogan received 52.14 percent of the vote in the second round on Sunday, defeating his opponent, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who received 47.86 percent.

The result is anticipated to be confirmed within the next few days.

The vote cements Erdogan's position in history by extending his 20-year rule by five years.

He had already surpassed the 15-year presidency of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey.

Erdogan appeared outside his home in Uskudar, Istanbul, and sang before thanking the adoring audience.

Erdogan stated, "We have completed the second round of presidential elections with the support of our people." God willing, we will continue to merit your confidence as we have for the past 21 years.

He added that all 85 million citizens of the country were "victors" in the May 14 and May 28 elections.

In addition, the president stated that the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), will hold Kilicdaroglu accountable for his poor performance, adding that the number of CHP seats in parliament has decreased since the 2017 elections.

After arriving in Ankara, he addressed his supporters at the presidential palace. Erdogan congratulated the masses and stated that the country's most pressing problem was inflation, adding that it was not a difficult problem to solve.

Inflation in Turkey decreased from a peak of 85.6 percent in October to 50.5% in March, according to official statistics.

"The most pressing issue is eliminating the problems caused by inflation-driven price increases and compensating for welfare losses," said the president.

Erdogan added that his top priorities would be to heal the wounds caused by the February earthquakes and rebuild the cities and towns destroyed by the natural catastrophe.

Erdogan stated, "Our hearts and hands will remain in the earthquake region."

Kilicdaroglu stated that he would continue what he termed a "struggle for democracy" in his first remarks after it became obvious that Erdogan would continue as president.

The leader of the CHP stated, "All state resources were mobilized for one political party and placed at the feet of one man." "I would like to thank the leaders of the Nation Alliance, their organizations, our voters, and the citizens who fought against these immoral and illegal pressures and protected the ballot boxes."

Kilicdaroglu has not yet resigned despite the defeat, but calls for him to do so are likely to increase.

Close Campaign

During the two-month election period, one of the most vicious campaigns in recent memory was waged.

Kilicdaroglu concluded the campaign by labeling Erdogan a "coward." Erdogan repeatedly referred to his opponent as being supported by "terrorists" due to the support provided by the main pro-Kurdish party, while Kilicdaroglu called Erdogan a "coward."

The campaign adopted an increasingly nationalistic tone, with the opposition pledging to expel Syrians and other refugee populations.

Since the introduction of direct presidential elections in 2014, Sunday's runoff election was the first time the election had progressed to a second stage.

Even though citizens were asked to vote again two weeks after the initial election on May 14, the turnout remained close to 85 percent.

For Turks watching the inauguration of ballot boxes on television, the results varied depending on whether they were following the state-run Anadolu news agency or the opposition-affiliated Anka news agency.

Two hours after polls closed, when the election authority reported that a quarter of ballots had been tabulated, Anadolu showed Erdogan with a lead of 53.7%, while Anka showed Kilicdaroglu with a lead of 50.1%.

Nevertheless, the disparity between the two accounts shrunk as the evening progressed, and Erdogan began to lead in both.

The elections, which took place on May 14 and included a parliamentary election and a contest for the presidency, were widely regarded as the most significant in recent Turkish history and occurred in the centennial year of the republic's founding.

The choice between the two candidates was either a continuation of Erdogan's two-decade rule or a leader promising a return to a parliamentary system.

More than 64 million Turks at home and abroad were eligible to vote in the elections, which were held against a cost-of-living crisis in which inflation peaked at 85 percent in October and earthquakes in February killed more than 50,000 people in the country's southeast.

The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government of Erdogan, who came to power in 2003 and initially served as prime minister, promised a vision for further development and pledged to continue the progress made by its administration.

As a result of his victory in the parliamentary election, in which the AK Party and its allies won 323 of 600 seats, Erdogan guaranteed the stability of having control over the legislature and the executive branch.

Kilicdaroglu, on the other hand, promised democratization and a rollback of Erdogan's "one-man rule" while addressing economic mismanagement.

The nationalist tone preceding the presidential run-off was partly an effort to win over voters who supported Sinan Ogan, who received more than 5 percent of the vote on May 14.

Ogan ultimately supported Erdogan, while other nationalists supported Kilicdaroglu.

Erdogan received 49.5% of the vote in the first round compared to 44.95% for Kilicdaroglu.

After the last two months of campaigning, electors have ten months to prepare for local elections in March, when Erdogan will attempt to retake opposition-held cities, including Istanbul and Ankara.

Publish : 2023-05-29 10:53:00

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