President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s victory in Turkey’s presidential run-off on Sunday was celebrated by ethnic Turks and Muslims across the region, in which Turkey has a strong influence, including Sarajevo, Novi Pazar, Skopje, Ohrid, Prizren and others.
In the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, people gathered around the Sebilj Fountain in the city’s old town and waved Turkish flags and posters of Erdogan and his party. The group later made a convoy touring the city.
Erdogan on Sunday declared victory in the second round of presidential elections after winning 52.16 per cent of the vote according to the first official results. His defeated rival, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, won 47.84 per cent.
In Novi Pazar, a mainly Bosniak town in southwest Serbia, fireworks were organised and people gathered in the main square in front of the municipal HQ.
“This victory brings happiness and peace to all those who are kin to Turks,” Sulejman Ugljanin, the President of the Party of Democratic Action Sandzak, the oldest party in Serbia’s mainly Bosniak Sandzak region, wrote on Instagram.
Ugljanin was one of many Balkan leaders who gave full support to Erdogan before and during the elections.
Several Balkan leaders, including Albanian PM Edi Rama and Bakir Izetbegovic, leader of the Party of Democratic Action in Bosnia, declared their support.
Others, including Montenegro’s Deputy Prime Minister and chairman of the country’s Bosniak Party, Ervin Ibrahimovic, attended Erdogan’s political rallies in Turkey.
In Prizren, in Kosovo, home to a significant ethnic Turkish community, celebrations continued until late at night.
People sang and danced to traditional Turkish and Balkan music, waving Turkish flags and Erdogan’s pictures.
In towns in North Macedonia with a high number of ethnic Turks and Albanians, the picture was similar to Prizren.
Right after Erdogan’s victory was announced, people gathered in squares in Ohrid, Tetovo, Gostivar and Skopje to celebrate the result. Erdogan has conducted a pro-active foreign policy in the region with a special focus on Muslim groups via aid, donations, projects, investments and the media.
Erdogan fans sang and danced and later organised large convoys touring the cities, as they did also in the Albanian capital, Tirana.
After the elections, Turkey’s new parliament will start working and President Erdogan will appoint his new cabinet.
Erdogan has ruled Turkey since 2002, first as prime minister and then as president. Initially, reforms were introduced, and the economy boomed, but in recent years the economic situation has become dire and rights and freedoms have come under sustained attack.
Source: Balkan Insight