As predicted, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been re-elected and will continue ruling the country like he has for the last 15 years.
“The winners of the June 24 elections are Turkey, the Turkish nation, sufferers of our region and all oppressed (people) in the world,” said Erdogan in his victory address.
“Mr. Erdogan, who has been running the nation of 80 million under emergency rule after a failed coup in 2016, now has unprecedented control over a state apparatus from which he has purged tens of thousands of civil servants and a strong perch from which to steer everything from legislation to economic policy. The clear victory and the concession by his nearest opponent, Muharrem Ince, likely averts protests that could plunge the country into instability,” writes the Wall Street Journal.
Erdogan received 52.3 percent of the votes and his rival Ince secured about 30.6 percent.
Turnout was high at about 87 percent.
Ince’s Republican People’s Party, also known as the CHP, originally said their results were different than the “official” ones, implying that they were manipulated by Erdogan’s government.
However, Ince did publicly accept the results and will not be calling for a protest although he did not think the election was a fair race.
“If the official list shows you have been defeated, you have been defeated,” said Ince. “With 50.1%, I could have called people to take to the streets. But there was no such thing—the difference is huge. â€‹You shouldn’t enter a race if you’re not able to congratulate your opponent.”
This also means Erdogan will be granted new sweeping powers too.
“The April 2017 referendum passed with a “Yes” vote of 51 percent, setting out a new level of presidential authority set to take hold after Sunday’s election,” writes Newsweek. “The country’s parliamentary system will now become one focused on the office of the president. The post of the prime minister will be abolished, and its powers transferred to Erdogan, who will also have the ability to appoint senior judges, ministers and vice presidents, giving him full control of those who are tasked with checking his authority.”
Ince expressed concern about the future of Turkey.
“The chief point I will make is how big a threat the new regime that comes into effect today poses to Turkey. This is the exact definition of a one-man regime,” said Ince. “Concentrating the state, the executive, the legislative and the judiciary under one person … will continue to be a great danger to Turkey. We will live through it and, unfortunately, pay the price together.”
Some fear that the political climate in Turkey will only become more intolerant now that Erdogan has secured another term.
“I am very, very upset,” said an Istanbul resident. “Really, really… as a young woman… I am only 25. I want to live in this country but as a young woman… it is becoming harder to live in this country, women are not respected and the education system is upside down.”
Ironically, Erdogan called his election win a test of democracy.
“Turkey has decided to take the side of growth, development, investment, enrichment and a reputable, honorable and influential country in all areas in the world,” said Erdogan to supporters. “I would like to congratulate our nation once again. This has been another test of democracy and we have passed this test successfully.”
As Turkey’s leadership continues to morph more into a dictatorship, the country’s currency lira has lost about a quarter of its value compared to the U.S. dollar since the beginning of 2018.
“During the campaign, the president said he would continue to rely on investment in large infrastructure projects and a steady flow of cheap consumer credit to fuel high economic growth. Some analysts said the strategy has made Turkey overly dependent on inflow of foreign investments, and could falter if the country is seen as a big political risk,” writes the WSJ.
Author’s note: It looks like Turkey is falling further into a dictatorship. Erdogan can pretend Turkey is a democracy all he wants, but at the same time he is taking more power and changing laws to remain in power.
Editor’s note: It is certain that Erdogan will want to gain more power. At worst, his plan may include forming the next ‘caliphate,’ attracting Islamic radicals from all over the world. We will need to watch this carefully.