30 May 2023

Democratization Canceled: Erdogan Wins Turkish Run-ups

Sadly, because of this, the Islamisation of Turkey will continue and it will remain a popular staging area for the jihadist invasion of Europe.

From The European Conservative

By Tamás Orbán

The opposition’s democratization plans might be postponed, but analysts say that since President Erdoğan only won by a narrow margin, he may end up adopting some of the liberal reforms himself.

Incumbent Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, won the second round of Turkey’s presidential elections on Sunday, May 28th, securing another term as leader of the country after leading it for two decades. His main contender, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, acknowledged the defeat but vowed to continue the struggle for Turkey’s democratization.

“I would like to thank each and every member of my nation who gave us the responsibility of governing our country for five years with their choice,” President Erdoğan said announcing his victory on Sunday evening, adding that he’s also grateful “to my nation for giving us a day of democracy,”—a clear message to Kılıçdaroğlu, whose main campaign promise was democratic and liberal reforms. 

After nearly all the votes had been counted, Erdoğan finished at 52.16%, while Kılıçdaroğlu received 47.84%, ultimately proving the miscalculation by both analysts and pollsters who had been saying that Turkey was ripe for a democratic regime-change for months.

The run-up elections were needed after neither candidate crossed the necessary 50% threshold in the first round of voting on May 14th, with the incumbent president finishing at 49.4% and his main contender, Kılıçdaroğlu, at 44.9%. Considering these preliminary results, it was no surprise Erdoğan won in the end (especially after the third candidate, dubbed the ‘kingmaker,’ came out to endorse him), showing again that democracy does not always favor those who want to have more of it.

Nonetheless, the opposition candidate and former physics teacher vowed to continue the struggle for liberal reforms, to reverse Turkey’s “democratic backsliding,” and to build a closer relationship with the West. “We will continue to be at the forefront of this struggle until true democracy comes to our country,” Kılıçdaroğlu said. 

The opposition candidate also called the election the most unfair one in years. “All the means of the state were mobilized for one political party and laid at the feet of one man,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, later adding, that “[his] real sadness is about the difficulties awaiting the country.” Thus, he acknowledged the results but did not formally concede defeat.

While it’s true that Kılıçdaroğlu’s systemic reforms are practically canceled for the next five years, this election still yielded an unusually narrow victory for Erdoğan, which might mean he will have to be a lot more balanced in his approach to leadership in the future.

“The difference is only over two million votes, which means the country is still divided in half, and part of it has to do with the long and polarizing campaign season for both parties,” Hakan Akbas, a senior analyst of the Albright Stonebridge Group said

“I think he’s got a[n] historical opportunity in front of him to be able to show that he can also govern both sides and then unite the country and continue with an inclusive agenda that will fix the economy, that will set the stage for the next chapter of foreign policy as well as looking at potential constitutional changes in parliament,” Akbas added.

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