Briefly: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been re-elected president of Turkey after second-round voting in the country’s elections yesterday (Sunday). Erdoğan outran his opponent, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, by a margin of 52.1% to 47.9%.
This outcome seemed more likely last week, when a nationalist candidate who won 5.2% in the first round endorsed Erdoğan instead of Kılıçdaroğlu.
In response, Kılıçdaroğlu took a hard-line stance on migrants, putting up posters across the country with the slogan “Syrians will go.” But it wasn’t enough to bring undecided right-leaning voters to his camp.
Intrigue’s take: Erdoğan has made plenty of enemies during his 20+ years in office, and almost all of them – from the left, right, and centre – teamed up this election to try and oust him.
But Erdoğan’s iron grip on Turkey’s media, government institutions, and the imagination of Turkey’s voters proved too much for even the most determined and united opposition to overcome.
So Erdoğan can now get back to his in-tray, which is piled high with challenges. And after 20 years in power, much of that in-tray is the result of his own out-tray.
Also worth noting:
- World leaders have tweeted their congrats to Erdoğan, including leaders in Brazil, the US, Germany, France, the EU, Sweden, and Hungary.
- Addressing supporters after his victory, Erdoğan said “I will be here until I’m in the grave.” Kılıçdaroğlu didn’t initially concede defeat, but said “my real sadness is about the difficulties awaiting the country.”
- In a pre-election interview, Erdoğan said he’ll continue to block Sweden’s accession to NATO. There are reports Erdoğan may relent in exchange for the US approving Turkey’s purchase of F-16 fighter jets.