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Turkey Elections: What To Expect From Undefeated Erdogan

Turkey Elections: What To Expect From Undefeated Erdogan

Turkey elections: Having read the electorate better than the pollsters and analysts, who had suggested he could be beaten by the opposition well, not this time. Streets erupted in car honking jubilation and tributes poured in from across the world as Turkey’s most important leader in modern history led a sea of supporters while in celebration outside his presidential palace in Ankara.

Meanwhile his opponent Kemal Kilicdaroglu who was just four percentage points behind him had viewed it as a do or die chance to save Turkey from being turned into an autocracy.

However Kilicdaroglu’s brief concession statement expressed real sadness about the big difficulties awaiting the country with president elect.

However there is no doubt President Erdogan will be reflecting on that as he starts his third term in office.

The strategic Nato nation has chosen its path, most voters opting for a season autocrat rather than an untested democrat in the form of Mr Kilicdaroglu.

Erdogan has for long had bond with followers

The opposition leader ran his campaign as Mr Nice Guy, initially promising a new spring for Turkey. He later swerved right, vowing to send all refugees home. That won him some extra support from nationalists, but that was not enough.

Meanwhile Turkey’s Islamist leader Mr Erdogan has for long had bond with his followers that goes back 20 years as many are religious conservatives just like him. They have stuck with him through thick and thin and hyperinflation giving him five more years.

“We were blessed by the fact that our president is again leading us,” said Hatice Duran, 50, who was smiling broadly beneath her headscarf.

“There is no other feeling greater than this. Let the world hear this. He is the leader who defied the entire world and taught the entire world a lesson.”said Duran.

That’s a key part of his appeal here: Mr Erdogan is a strong leader, a latter day Sultan who does not bow down.

However the message of the Turkey elections was that many here preferred a tough guy to a nice guy.
Now that he is newly emboldened the country’s opposition is badly bruised, and the Kremlin is celebrating.

However this is the outcome President Vladimir Putin wanted and no surprise that he was one of the first to offer his congratulations to the Turkish leader.

48 percent wanted change in Turkey

Mr Putin did what he could to tilt the scales in his favour, including postponing a $600m (£486m) payment for Russian natural gas.

Mr Erdogan entered the contest with many advantages his street smarts, his common touch, and his control of 90% of the media here.

While addressing the mass during his victory speech he insisted that “only Turkey was the winner” but he lost no time in attacking the opposition and the LGBTQ community.

Both may now be targeted even more, and human rights and free speech could be further eroded in the years to come.

There are few checks and balances here, and Turkey’s longest serving leader is not known for his restraint.

Those who wanted change here almost 48% of the voters will be disappointed, and perhaps fearful.
Many predict there will be more religion and less freedom in the public life of this secular republic, which will mark its centenary in October.

Meanwhile Turkey is now a divided nation with a broken economy and critics say the president has no solution for either.

And where does the election result leave Turkey’s neighbours and its Nato allies? They will be watchful, knowing President Erdogan often seems to relish upending the established international order.

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