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Homechevron_rightOpinionchevron_rightEditorialchevron_rightTurkey of Erdoğan, or...

Turkey of Erdoğan, or rather Erdoğan’s Turkey

Turkey of Erdoğan, or rather Erdoğan’s Turkey

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has been elected as the president of Turkey on the 570th anniversary of the conquest of Constantinople, or today's Istanbul, by the Osman (Ottoman) Sultan Muhammad II, in 1453 CE, has declared that 'This is not his victory, but the victory of Turkey'. A winning presidential candidate, according to the nation’s Constitution, should bag more than 50 percent of the total votes cast. In the first round, Erdogan managed only 49.5 percent (24.6 million) votes. But the second round catapulted him to power with 52.18 percent votes. Opposition’s joint candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of Republican People's Party -a party that was launched by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk who is known to be the father of modern Turkey—had to content himself with 47.82 percent. Having led the country for 20 years both as prime minister and later concentrating power in himself as president, Erdogan was widely predicted to lose this time. The sharp fall in the value of the Turkish lira, lapses in handling the earthquake that struck eastern Turkey in February, and economic losses of $100 billion have all sparked public outrage. What with Opposition’s joint move against Erdogan’s supposedly authoritarian policies, his fall was predicted to happen. However, he managed to retain his vote share of 2018 polls without any noticeable dip. Moreover, his front secured majority by winning 323 seats against 213 in the 600-member parliament.

His triumph stems from stability, development and balanced foreign policy that Erdogan brought to Turkey after two decades of complete political uncertainty. None of the successors of Kemal Atatürk, who ruled the country with an iron fist for 15 years leading an ultra-secular regime, could bring stability to the nation. There were incidents of the military ousting from power elected politicians.Necmettin Erbakan, leader of the National Salvation Party and sort of a guru to Erdogan, who won several polls and came to power only to be ousted by Kemalist military accusing him of violating secularism. Erdogan, who knew the situation inside out being Erbakan’s disciple, decided to go slow and steady forming the Justice and Development Party winning popular support.

Elected as mayor of country’s largest city of Instabul in 1994, Erdogan successfully solved the city’s major headaches of air pollution, garbage problem, and shortage of clean water. He was soon hailed as a national hero gaining popular support. He strategically ended military intervention alongside surviving a coup by taking the people to the streets. He accelerated the country’s economic growth. Erdogan gained mass support by evoking fond memories of the Ottoman Caliphate, instilling in them nationalism, and actively intervening in Muslim world’s problems. Despite being a member of NATO, he did not give in to the pressures of America. While still maintaining diplomatic ties with Israel, he questioned the Jewish state’s violence against Palestinians. He also supported groups including Hamas. Most recently, Turkey has been trying to reduce tensions between countries like Iran-Saudi Arabia-Egypt. Erdogan’s first reaction after winning the polls was: ‘We are not the only winners. Turkey won. The winner is our democracy’. He claims he will build a century that belongs to Turkey. It is not impossible if this 69-year-old is able to realistically assess today’s global situations without revelling in success. He will have to focus on building up relations with countries while pursuing democracy and secularism.

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TAGS:Turkey pollsErdoğan's victory
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