Monday, 23 July, 2018

Turkey votes as Erdogan eyes second term

GETTYFans out in support of President Erdogan GETTYFans out in support of President Erdogan
Jodi Jackson | 28 June, 2018, 15:30

Last year, Erdogan drove through constitutional reforms that shift Turkey toward a USA -style political system, eliminating the office of prime minister and handing the president powers to pass laws by decree, pick cabinet ministers from outside the legislature, force new elections and declare a state of emergency.

With nearly all the votes counted, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won an absolute majority in the presidential election with 52.5 percent of the vote.

Ince, an affable physics teacher who has been an MP for 16 years has sought a united front against Erdoğan over the course of the campaign and has pledged to roll back presidential powers, restore the rule of law in Turkey and end the prosecution and imprisonment of dissidents and journalists.

Early results in Turkey's presidential election showed Recep Tayyip Erdogan heading for another term as president, gaining near-absolute authority in a revamped political system.

Erdogan had 52.7 percent of the votes with 96 percent counted followed by Muharrem Ince at 30.8 percent, Selahattin Demirtas at 8.1 percent and Meral Aksener at 7.4 percent, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency news agency.

"Turkey is staging a democratic revolution", he said. It definitely wasn't one. As recently as April 2017, the Turks had already given up the remaining pieces of their democracy when they voted in favor of constitutional amendments that made Erdoğan head of the state, head of government and head of the ruling party all at the same time.

Erdogan's closest rival, Muharrem Ince, who complained of unfair elections, has yet to formally concede defeat. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced June 13 that Turkish forces were carrying out military operations in northern Iraq to root out members of the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) in Qandil, Sinjar, and Makhmur, which Turkey holds to be a terrorist organization.

"Erdoğan "won" reelection in Turkey this weekend only by decimating the opposition through arrests, violence and squashing freedom of the press", said Schiff in his Twitter post.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has become one of the first world leaders to congratulate Recep Tayyip Erdogan on being re-elected as Turkey's president.

Turkey began European Union membership talks in 2005, but the discussions have been at a standstill in recent years. Deep polarization in the Turkish society will probably get deeper.

The inefficiency and corruption built into such a system make the growth costly to the general public, as the lira devaluation in recent months has proved.

Turkey's Western allies and human rights groups have criticized the scale of the crackdown, and Erdogan's critics say Erdogan is using the coup as a pretext to quash dissent, a charge he denies. And, unlike Putin, he doesn't have a vast resource base to prop up his grand economic vision: Turkey is dependent for trade and investment on the very countries toward which Erdogan's rhetoric is the most hostile.

Erdogan accuses Gulen of being behind the failed coup and some of the corruption allegations that had dogged his rule, but U.S. authorities have requested evidence to back the extradition bid.

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