Turkish election: what does Erdoğan’s victory mean?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been re-elected to govern the country for another five years. He won Sunday’s run-off with 52.2 percent of the vote against opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s 47.8 percent. Europe’s press looks at how fair the election was and what the result means for the future.

TSF (PT) /

The promise of stability and an unfair campaign

Political scientist Raul M. Braga Pires identifies two key reasons for the election victory in TSF:

“Twenty years of a political career as prime minister and then as president assure voters of the truth of what many Turks said during the election campaign: ‘A promise made by this man is a promise kept. No one in Turkey can doubt that, he has proven himself. One thing you can say about Erdoğan is that he has never broken his word.’ This and the fact that the entire state apparatus was mobilised for the re-election of candidate Erdoğan were decisive factors in the final result.”

Raul M. Braga Pires
Népszava (HU) /

Mass brainwashing

Népszava sees the election as just one more spectacle in a sham democracy:

“The abolition of the free press, the hijacking of the entire media market and its transformation into a servant of power have led to a perfect Potemkin democracy, in which it was possible to pitch Europe’s biggest economic collapse and staggering inflation as a national success. Erdoğan’s election victory is not fraud but the result of lying propaganda and mass brainwashing.”

Mária Gál
Dnevnik (SI) /

An unconvincing turnaround

Dnevnik looks at why the change of power in Turkey failed:

“Kılıçdaroğlu did quite well as an emergency candidate in the unequal election campaign. In the end his lack of charisma in the first round probably cost him the victory. In the second round, he had to go all out. He strengthened his anti-refugee stance and abandoned his kindly grandfather image. For only among the nationalist electoral base did he still have voter reserves. But such a radical turnaround in the last 14 days did not convince most voters.”

Aleš Gaube
Iefimerida (GR) /

At least Greece knows what to expect

Writing in Iefimerida, television producer and political analyst Yannis Koutsomitis looks at what Erdoğan’s continued presidency means for Greece:

“The elections in Turkey were neither free nor fair. ... Nevertheless Greece and the West in general are forced to engage with Erdoğan. We will never know whether Turkey would have restored the rule of law and its relations with the West with Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu as president, or whether the Turkish people have missed an opportunity for a better and more democratic future. But history is not written with the words word ‘if’ and ‘whether’, and we here in Greece may well be better off dealing with the devil we know.”

Giannis Koutsomitis
Echo (RU) /

This will be his last term

Erdoğan’s time may soon be up despite his winning the election, writes Russian opposition politician Lev Shlosberg in a Telegram post republished by Echo:

“Kılıçdaroğlu’s result commands respect: never before has an opposition presidential candidate in Turkey come so close to success. ... This is likely to be Erdoğan’s last term. Turkish society will change, gradually part of it will grow tired of this long stubborn rule and demand a new leader. Whether this will be Kılıçdaroğlu is impossible to say now. But it is very likely that time will bring forth a younger politician capable of returning Turkey to Atatürk’s ideals.”

Lew Schlosberg
Jyllands-Posten (DK) /

A loose cannon in the defence alliance

Jylllands-Posten is seriously concerned about Turkey’s role in Nato:

“A strengthened Erdoğan may become radicalised. There is no guarantee that Sweden will get a gracious nod from him so it can join Nato at the summit in six week’s time. And it is by no means certain that Erdoğan will abandon his fence-sitting between the West and Russia. ... Nato can consider itself lucky if there is no major debate about whether Turkey should not be thrown out of the alliance after Erdoğan’s constant backstabbing of his partners. Turkey’s location on the edge of the Middle Eastern powder keg is too strategically important for that to be a serious option. But if the truth be told, Erdoğan has led Turkey out of the community of values that Nato also represents.”