Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday declared victory in the second round of presidential elections after winning 52.13 per cent of the votes, with 99.7 per cent of the votes counted. His defeated rival, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, won 47.87 per cent.
“I thank our nation that allowed us with their decision to rule the country for another five years. If God wills it, we will maintain your trust, as we did in the last 21 years,” Erdogan told tens of thousands of supporters in front of his family home in Uskudar, Istanbul.
Erdogan’s supporters chanted back: “This nation is with you!”.
Erdogan also gave some signals about his next five years. “We will do what we promised our nation in the coming period. Family is sacred to us,” Erdogan said and accused opposition parties of being pro-LGBT.
Kilicdaroglu said the opposition struggle will continue.
“Our march continues, we are here. I would like to thank the Nation Alliance and all my citizens who have struggled without succumbing to this climate of fear. In this election, the will of the people to change the authoritarian regime emerged,” Kilicdaroglu told a press conference in his Republican People’s Party, CHP headquarter in Ankara.
Kilicdaroglu was the joint candidate of the united opposition bloc, hoping to unseat the strongman who has ruled the country for 21 years.
The general and presidential elections of 2023 were the toughest test Erdogan has faced during his entire political career and took place amid a deepening economic crisis and concerns about his authoritarian rule.
Huge earthquakes in February registering 7.9 and 7.7 on the Richter scale made things worse. More than 50,000 people died and millions were left without homes. The authorities announced that the quakes will likely cost the economy $103.6 billion, equal to one-eighth of the country’s 2021 GDP.
On May 14, Erdogan’s People’s Alliance secured a comfortable majority in parliament and Erdogan himself received 49.5 per cent of the vote in the presidential race.
Kilicdaroglu, who won 44.8 per cent of the vote in the first round, leaving his supporters disappointed, presented Turkey’s first-ever presidential run-off as a referendum on the country’s future.
Erdogan received calls of congratulation from around the world from his allies.
“Congratulations to President Erdogan on his unquestionable election victory!” Hungarian Prime Minister wrote on Twitter. Others also congratulated Erdogan, including the Azerbaijani, Kosovo, Libyan and Uzbek leaders.
In the presidential run-off, the turnout was 85 per cent.
After the elections, the new parliament will start working and President Erdogan will appoint his new cabinet.
Erdogan has been ruling the country 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