Turkey votes as Erdogan eyes second term


Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chair and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has made a statement about election results.

The unequal campaigning conditions for the opposition prior to election day and events under the state of emergency-such as the purging and jailing of tens of thousands of people said to be linked to the coup plotters and Turkey's emergence as the biggest jailer of journalists in the world-has led some academics to conclude that Turkey is no longer a democracy and simply saw its authoritarianism consolidated by the election outcome.

"If Erdogan wins, your phones will continue to be listened to". He now rules with substantially expanded powers.

Erdogan has at times seemed on the defensive, making promises to lift the state of emergency imposed after the coup bid and ensuring the 3.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey go home only after similar pledges by Ince. These laws granted him draconian measures allowing him to severely limit free expression and the right of assembly, thus restricting the freedom of his rivals to campaign against him on an equal footing.

President Erdoğan called early snap elections in April hoping to preempt worsening economic trends and to catch the opposition by surprise.

Inflation has zoomed well into double digits - with popular concern over sharp rises in staples like potatoes and onions - while the Turkish lira has lost some 25 percent in value against the U.S. dollar this year. Currently, almost all the print and online press along with radio and TV are controlled directly or indirectly by his cronies.

The latest operations came two days after presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey. He further undermined the fairness of the election by allowing government officials to man polling stations and count ballots that have no official stamp.

The Cabinet composition, when it is finalized, is likely to show a change of image on the AKP side, which is aware of its under-performance in the parliamentary polls where it failed to get the simple majority in the Parliament, taking only 43 percent.

The main opposition party candidate claimed the majority of those who have voted for him are young. While Erdogan's every appearance was broadcast in its entirety, the television channels for the most part only showed snippets of Ince, while the nationalist Meral Aksener was nearly completely ignored.

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So much about Mr Trump and what we have seen from the way he has conducted his turbulent presidency so far suggests a personal political philosophy that leans towards illiberal democracy along with more than a sneaking regard for autocrats.

Still more issues cloud ties - such as the behavior of Erdogan's bodyguards, who have twice brawled with peaceful demonstrators in Washington - but things work out better behind the scenes. "Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas", the State Department wrote.

Turkey's new ruling ideology will, first of all, make it practically impossible to return to the negotiating table for peace with the Kurds. But what is happening in Turkey today is part of a larger global trend where the western democratic model is losing its sheen and the authoritarian-yet-economically-successful model is gaining currency.

This must also be seen in light of the fact that Erdogan has developed close and friendly relations with the West's staunchest enemies-Russia and Iran.

He is working in tandem with Russian Federation and Iran to find a solution to the Syrian civil war and deliberately sideline the USA from playing any role in determining the final outcome.

Dr. Manuel Almeida is a political analyst and consultant focusing on the Middle East.

The probable presence of figures affiliated with the MHP in the new government is considered a signal of Turkey's slide toward a hard-line domestic and foreign policy. For the first time since 1977 a social democrat politician won more than 30% of the vote in Turkey.

Turkey needed a change, but Erdogan's ability to consolidate power has prevented it.