Erdogan’s triumph takes Turkey into the era of one-man rule

28 Juin, 2018, 15:28 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • People walk nearby a campaing banner showing Turkey’s president in the Eminonu district of Istanbul

An unofficial tally released by the state news agency gave Erdogan 52.6 percent of the ballots, with Ince trailing at 30.6 percent.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party candidate Selahattin Demirtas came third with 8.4 percent, a position all the more remarkable given he has been jailed on charges of links to Kurdish militants since November 2016.

The United States, in turn, has called for the release of U.S. citizens and mission employees held in Turkey's jails on what USA officials deem trumped up "terrorism" charges.

While Mr Erdogan met crowds of cheering supporters, the opposition has cried foul, claiming that state media and the election commission manipulated the results.

The HDP easily broke through the 10 percent minimum vote threshold to pick up 67 seats, sparking wild celebrations in its Kurdish-majority stronghold of Diyarbakir.

Erdogan has faced backlash around the world over human rights abuses, especially after a failed coup attempt in 2016 that led to a crackdown under his rule on journalists, academics and civil servants.

After the changes were approved past year, Erdogan returned to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) he co-founded in 2001 as chairman. He asked all Turks to be vigilant at polls and not be "demoralized" by what he called the possible manipulation of news.

Despite a hard-fought campaign by the opposition, Erdogan did better than expected in the snap election he called just two months ago, winning outright in the first round.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses supporters.

The incumbent is the most powerful leader since the founder of the Turkish republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

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Worldwide observers criticized the election Monday, saying it took place on "uneven playing field" tilted in favour of Erdogan and his ruling party, which "enjoyed undue advantage, including in media".

But critics say he has taken an increasingly authoritarian bent.

The Erdogan and AKP victories also give the ruling party the political capacity to further undermine the Gulen religious movement overseas.

Many critics say this year's military operation in Afrin, Syria, was primarily created to boost both Mr Erdogan's reputation and nationalist sentiment prior to the elections; however, in his victory speech to supporters from the ruling party's headquarters in Ankara he said that Turkey would now act more decisively against terrorist organisations. He said turnout appeared to be high and that "no serious incidents" had occurred. If the coalition holds together, as it is likely to, Erdogan can be assured of a docile legislature that would allow him to implement much of his domestic program and follow a foreign policy of his choosing.

"If the person says they will run with a one-man regime to the end, why should I congratulate a dictator?"

Erdogan has also campaigned against the backdrop of increasing economic woes including high inflation and a currency that has sometimes been in freefall. Voter turnout was high, at almost 87 per cent.

"It's now time to leave all political debates of the election campaign behind and to get focused on the future", Erdogan added.

In contrast, congratulations for Erdogan flooded in from Turkey's partners in the Islamic world and allies who also have tetchy relations with the West, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin who praised Erdogan's "great political authority".

In a speech at CHP headquarters on Monday, Ince said that despite suspicions of fraud, he nonetheless recognised Erdogan's victory: "Did they steal votes? Yes". Videos posted on social media appeared to show people voting in bulk at a ballot box in the town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province.



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