Istanbul – President Recep Erdogan has won the elections in Turkey that were considered to be the biggest challenge after the foiled military coup two years ago. Erdogan received 52% of the votes and this victory is an endorsement of his dictatorship. Recep Erdogan, who has been continuously in power for last 15 years, has further tightened his grip on the country with this victory, but the parliamentary entry of the pro-Kurd parties with more than 10% votes could pose a new headache for Erdogan.
On Sunday, elections for the Presidency and the Parliament were held together for the first time ever in Turkey. 55 million voters from Turkey had registered for this voting. The local election agencies and government media claimed that there was a record 88% voting. Some opposition parties had appealed to unite against Erdogan before the polls. Therefore, there were indications that this election would prove to be a challenge for Erdogan.
But in reality, the declared results prove the victory to have been a cakewalk for Erdogan. Muharrem Ince, the contestant who posed a formidable challenge to Erdogan in the Presidential elections, received 30% votes and conceded his defeat. But the social media and the media outside Turkey have claimed that it was not an easy victory for Erdogan. The media says that Erdogan had used tactics like curtailing the scope for the opposition to campaign and refusal for an open discussion, to avoid creation of popular vote against him.
The criticism against Erdogan had sharpened in view of the jolts to the Turkish economy in the past few months and the blatant use of security forces to crush the opposition. The failure to fulfil the ambition of inclusion of Turkey in the European Union was one more reason to target Erdogan. Against this background, Erdogan seems to have turned the tide of the Turkish voters in his favour in the final lap of the election campaign by projecting issues like the revival of the Ottoman Empire, stance against Israel and the United States, aggressive action against Syria and the Kurds.
It is believed that Erdogan’s grip on the country has tightened further because of his own victory as President as well as by gaining majority in the Parliament. Last year the decisions taken by him to remove the Prime Minister’s post and increase the powers vested with the President are claimed to have further strengthened Erdogan’s hold on power. At the same time, the HDP party of the Kurds having received 11% votes and emerged as the third largest party in the Parliament could prove troublesome for Erdogan, claim the analysts.