June 14, 2024

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Erdogan is re-elected, a victory for Islamic-nationalism in Turkiye

Erdogan is re-elected, a victory for Islamic-nationalism in Turkiye

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was re-elected on Sunday after the second round of Turkey’s presidential election. Despite a rocky start to the campaign and strong Turkish discontent over the way the economy is being managed, the Islamist-conservative and authoritarian president, who has led the country for 20 years, has been able to tap into the nationalist potential of his electorate. Discontent with the West. What a relief for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“It is time to put aside the controversies of the election campaign and achieve unity and solidarity around the dreams of our nation,” said the inexplicable. Reis (President), 69, to a crowd gathered in front of the Presidential Palace in Ankara.

As of 11 p.m. local time, the official Anadolu Agency gave him 52.1% of the vote, compared to 47.9% for his social-democratic rival, Kemal Klisadaroglu. Subsequently, the Election Commission confirmed his victory. He will therefore be eligible for another five-year term at the end of this election, which has forced him into a second round for the first time.

There is no turning right to Klişataroğlu

Sami Aoun, professor at the University of Sherbrooke and director of the Middle East and North Africa Observatory, Raoul Tandurand Chair, is not surprised by the results: “Erdogan knew how to sway the public debate in favor of his Islamist. Nationalist discourse. Turkey under his leadership between its role in NATO and its relations with Russia. He also bet on the fact that it is becoming an important geopolitical force. »

Russian President Vladimir Putin also congratulated his Turkish counterpart. “Your victory in this election is a logical result of your dedicated work as the President of the Republic of Turkey and a clear proof of the support of the Turkish people for your efforts to strengthen state sovereignty and pursue an independent foreign policy,” he said. said, according to the Kremlin website.

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US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak greeted the Turkish leader on Sunday, recalling their countries’ status as allies within NATO. Meanwhile, Justin Trudeau said he hopes to “further strengthen” relations between Canada and Turkey. Also, French President Emmanuel Macron pointed to several challenges he and Erdogan must face together, including restoring “peace in Europe.”

Authoritarian hold on power

In his speech on Sunday, Erdogan called his re-election a victory for democracy. However, like Vladimir Putin, the Turkish president has repeatedly made authoritarian attempts to silence his opponents over the past 20 years.

Remember that he jailed his Kurdish opponent Selahattin Demirtaş and many critical voices, especially since the coup attempt against him in 2016. Freedom of the press is also limited in Turkey, where laws limit the right to speak on social networks. “Like Viktor Orbán in Hungary, he maintains power through populism and lip service,” Mr. Aoun says.

Thus, neither the desire to convert part of the electorate, restrictions on freedom, nor the hyper-presidentialization of power weighed in the face of Turks’ desire for security and stability.

Yet the president has faced his fiercest opposition to date. But Kemal Klisateroglu, head of the Alliance of Nations, a six-party opposition party, has been unable to capitalize on record inflation undermining the country and the effects of earthquakes that have killed 50,000 people and displaced 3 million. Since last February.

On Sunday evening, Mr. Klisadaroglu revealed. “We have experienced one of the most unfair electoral processes in recent years,” he said, adding that “many difficulties await the country.”

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In the two weeks that separated the two rounds of the election, Mr. Klişateroğlu tried the risky gamble of seducing more right-wing voters. In particular, he promised to evacuate Syrian refugees living in Turkey, and this, “in the next year”. The statement, issued during a joint press conference with Ümit Özdag, a far-right politician from the anti-immigration party known as “Victory”, marked a shift in tone from his more unifying views at the start of the campaign.

“Erdogan, despite being secular, republican and socialist, forced his opponent to turn to the right,” said Mr. Aoun explains. Therefore, the outgoing president, Mr. Voters sensed the contradictions in Klişataroğlu’s speech.

According to the professor, Turkish voters are becoming “more and more nationalist and conservative.” He says that Erdogan, in his “discontent with the West, recalls Europe’s imperial past, which defeated and dismembered the Ottoman Empire.”

It is for this reason that the outgoing president has mobilized a large number of Turkish-speaking diaspora and Sunni Muslim voters abroad. On the other hand, marginalized communities, including LGBTQ+ people, fear his re-election. Mr. Erdogan has repeatedly insulted and accused the opposition of wanting to destroy family values.

A number of pressing issues await the re-elected president, especially in the international arena, where Turkey is playing an increasingly influential role. NATO allies are waiting for Turkey to lift its veto on Sweden’s entry into the Atlantic alliance, which has been blocked since May 2022. Of course, that’s not to mention the many challenges the president faces in his own country. Still recovering from the February earthquake.

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On Sunday evening, after midnight, he concluded his speech by reciting a poem by Arif Nihat Asya, a Turkish national poet, which was almost like a prayer. He is a spark Amen Tens of thousands of people gathered outside the presidential palace.

With Agence France-Presse

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