updateIn his victory speech on Sunday night, re-elected Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (69) called on his compatriots to “unity and solidarity”, but also lashed out at his rival Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, whom he accuses of having ties to terrorists . “The terrorists have lost and 85 million citizens have won.”
ADN, ADVV, HLA, IB
Belga, ANP, Reuters
LOOK. Turks take to the streets en masse to celebrate President Erdogan’s victory
Erdogan said this in the night from Sunday to Monday during a speech to thousands of his supporters in Ankara. Shortly before his swipe at Kiliçdaroglu, the state leader gave a conciliatory speech to the crowd gathered in front of the presidential palace. “It is time to put aside our differences from the electoral campaign and to pursue unity and solidarity around the dreams of our nation,” it said. “We ask this with all our hearts.”
Erdogan also said in his speech that he will not release the former chairman of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Party of the Peoples (HDP), Selahattin Demirtas, because this would not be possible under his administration. He called Demirtas a terrorist. The politician was imprisoned in the run-up to the 2016 elections. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in 2018 that Turkey should release Demirtas, but Erdogan said the ruling was “invalid” in his country. According to Erdogan, the HDP is an extension of the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party PKK. The HDP contradicts this.
Twenty years in power
The 69-year-old Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the Islamic AK Party has now been in power for twenty years, first as prime minister and since 2014 as president. He won the second and decisive round of the presidential election on Sunday evening, keeping him in power for at least another five years. Erdogan got 52.1 percent of the vote, opposition leader Kemal Kiliçdaroglu got stuck at 47.9 percent. “I am deeply saddened by the difficulties facing the country,” the social democrat said at his party headquarters in Ankara.
Turnout in the second round of Turkey’s presidential election was 85.59 percent, state news agency Anadolu reported.
Parliament seats lost
The secularist Kemal Kiliçdaroglu (74) of the center-left Republican People’s Party (CHP) was previously put forward as a joint candidate by six opposition parties, hoping to defeat Erdogan. In the first round, Erdogan was just short of an absolute majority with 49.5 percent, so a second round was needed.
Neither the call for a new policy nor the earthquake, which claimed at least 50,000 deaths, have been able to bring about real change. The president’s conservative AKP party did lose a lot of seats in parliament, but retains the majority together with the coalition partners.
Meral Aksener, the leader of the Turkish nationalist opposition party IYI, congratulated President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his victory. She said she hopes that Erdogan will behave like “the president of all Turks”. Before these elections, IYI had allied itself with another opposition party, the centre-left Republican People’s Party (CHP).
Aksener also expressed her disappointment at Erdogan’s victory speech in Istanbul, in which he sharply criticized the opposition’s presidential candidate Kemal Kiliçdaroglu of the CHP. During the campaign, he had accused Erdogan, among other things, of being responsible for Turkey’s very high inflation. Casting his vote on Sunday, Kiliçdaroglu called on voters to “liberate the country from the authoritarian regime”.
Victory is also celebrated in Antwerp, Ghent and Limburg
More than 64 million Turks were allowed to vote, some of whom had previously done so abroad. Outside Turkey, the turnout was 51.53 percent. Turks also took to the streets in Antwerp and Ghent to celebrate the victory of President Erdogan, just like in Limburg where supporters of Erdogan took to the streets with Turkish flags and fireworks in the former mining towns of Genk, Winterslag, Heusden-Zolder and Beringen and honking loudly. the central streets. This happened largely without incident.
Congratulations from Putin and Zelensky, among others
The Emir of Qatar became the first head of state to congratulate Turkish President Erdogan on his election victory, even before it was official. “I wish you success in your new term,” Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani wrote on Twitter. He hopes that Erdogan’s win will benefit “our two countries’ strong relations to develop and grow.” Turkey and Qatar have maintained a good relationship since Erdogan came to power.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also congratulated Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his re-election as Turkey’s president, describing it as a “logical result”. “The result is clear evidence of the Turkish people’s support for your efforts to strengthen state sovereignty and conduct an independent foreign policy,” Putin said in a statement on the Kremlin’s website.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also sends congratulations to the incumbent Turkish president via Twitter, adding that he hopes to “strengthen Europe’s strategic partnership for security and stability”.
From Europe, French President Emmanuel Macron was among the first to congratulate Erdogan. “France and Turkey have huge challenges to face together,” he wrote on Twitter. Macron spoke of the “return of peace in Europe, the future of our Euro-Atlantic alliance and the Mediterranean”.
Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also stressed the importance of cooperation in their congratulations to Erdogan. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz congratulated Erdogan, describing the two countries as “close partners and allies” whose “people and economies are deeply intertwined.”
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open Vld) congratulated Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday evening with his victory after the Turkish presidential elections. “Belgium and Turkey are solid partners and we will continue to work closely together – bilaterally and in NATO – for a stable Europe and a stable world,” De Croo wrote on Twitter.
US President Joe Biden wrote on Twitter: “I look forward to continuing to work together as NATO allies on bilateral issues and global challenges.” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called Erdogan on Sunday night, according to a government statement, writing on Twitter that he hoped to continue cooperation between the two countries “from expanding trade to tackling security issues as NATO allies.”
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva included the wish for peace in his congratulations to Erdogan. On Twitter, Lula wrote that Erdogan “can count on Brazil’s partnership in global cooperation for peace, in the fight against poverty and for the development of the world.”
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said through a spokesman that he looked forward to “further strengthening cooperation between Turkey and the United Nations.”
LOOK. Robin Ramaekers to AK party headquarters in Istanbul: “Many questions about Turkey’s future”
Electoral observers attacked
Several reports were made on Sunday of attacks against electoral observers in Istanbul and the southeastern part of the country. For example, Kiliçdaroglu’s fellow party member Ali Seker said that he and opposition election officials were attacked by a group when they complained about irregularities. The incident occurred in a village in southeastern Turkey’s Sanliurfa province.
Before that, CHP faction leader Özgur Özel also announced on Twitter that electoral observers had been beaten and their phones broken. He criticized that there were not enough security forces on the ground and therefore called on the authorities to ensure the security of the poll.
Several election officials were also attacked in Istanbul, according to media reports. For example, Halk TV reported that opposition voters had been attacked in the districts of Gaziosmanpasa and Ümraniye and online medium Senika.org wrote that in a school in the district of Bagcilar, lawyers were not allowed into the polling stations, which led to a small fight. The messages could not be independently verified.
Kiliçdaroglu called on his supporters earlier Sunday to protect the polling stations because “these elections are taking place under very difficult circumstances”.
Free but not fair
About 61 million people have been called to vote. Turkish citizens in Belgium had previously voted. The elections are widely regarded as free, but not fair. After the first round two weeks ago, international electoral observers denounced the government’s excessive media presence and lack of transparency in the elections. The electoral authority YSK is also regarded as politicized.
Sunday was also the anniversary of the 2013 anti-government protests in Gezi.
ANALYSIS. Why the Turkish electoral battle seems to be over before the second round (+)
PORTRAIT. Who is Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, the man who may become Turkey’s next president? (+)
LOOK. Ballot boxes opened in Turkey for second round of presidential elections
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