Despite setbacks, Erdogan still captivates followers

Published May 30, 2023
Ankara: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his allies greet supporters following his victory in the second round of the election at the Presidential Palace, on Monday.—AFP
Ankara: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his allies greet supporters following his victory in the second round of the election at the Presidential Palace, on Monday.—AFP

ANKARA: President Tayyip Erdogan’s election victory showed the magnetic hold he still has over millions of Turks after 20 years in power, with many believing he is the man best placed to fix problems which critics say are partly of his own making.

Hundreds of thousands of flag-waving supporters celebrated into the night, illustrating the enthusiasm that Erdogan and his Islamist-inspired politics generate among his fans, despite economic hardships which many thought would prompt his defeat.

“The victory is ours, how happy it is for us. Bye-bye, Mr Kemal. Thank God, Islam has won,” said an Erdogan supporter who gave his name as Banu, referring to the opposition’s Kemal Kilicdaroglu who was defeated on Sunday.

“Today is our happy day. Our President has won. I feel like I’m going on a pilgrimage to Mecca,” added another, Omer, among the thousands of people gathered at the presidential palace in Ankara.

Hundreds of thousands of flag-waving supporters celebrate his victory

The result renewed the mandate of a leader who has brought far-reaching changes to Turkiye, shaping a traditionally secular state according to his pious vision while amassing ever more power in his hands and asserting influence on the global stage. A veteran of a dozen electoral wins and a skilled orator, Erdogan prevailed after deploying both conservative and nationalist rhetoric in withering attacks on Kilicdaroglu.

Appealing to his conservative Muslim voter base, he repeatedly described the opposition as being pro-LGBT during his election rallies.

He also alleged that Kilicdaroglu had ties to the militant Kurdistan Wor­kers’ Party (PKK), which is viewed with hostility by many Turks because of a deadly insurgency it has been waging since 1984. Kili­cdaroglu called the claim slanderous.

But for Erdogan, the sloganeering helped deflect attention from economic troubles, including a cost-of-living crisis which critics have largely blamed on his unorthodox economic policies of cutting interest rates in the face of soaring inflation.

Erdogan won with 52.1 per cent support compared to 47.9pc for Kilicdaroglu, pointing to a deeply divided nation.

Published in Dawn, May 30th, 2023

Editorial

Ominous demands
Updated 18 May, 2024

Ominous demands

The federal government needs to boost its revenues to reduce future borrowing and pay back its existing debt.
Property leaks
18 May, 2024

Property leaks

THE leaked Dubai property data reported on by media organisations around the world earlier this week seems to have...
Heat warnings
18 May, 2024

Heat warnings

STARTING next week, the country must brace for brutal heatwaves. The NDMA warns of severe conditions with...
Dangerous law
Updated 17 May, 2024

Dangerous law

It must remember that the same law can be weaponised against it one day, just as Peca was when the PTI took power.
Uncalled for pressure
17 May, 2024

Uncalled for pressure

THE recent press conferences by Senators Faisal Vawda and Talal Chaudhry, where they demanded evidence from judges...
KP tussle
17 May, 2024

KP tussle

THE growing war of words between KP Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur and Governor Faisal Karim Kundi is affecting...