Facts: Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip Erdogan was born in Istanbul in 1954. He became the city’s mayor in 1994.
In 2001, Erdogan founded the conservative Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has ruled Turkey since 2022. In the 2002 election, he was not allowed to stand as a candidate, as he had previously served a shorter prison sentence for publicly quoting a poem that was considered to propagate Islamist violence.
He took over as prime minister in 2003, a role he held until 2014 with Abdullah Gül as president.
In 2014, Erdogan himself was elected president, the first in Turkey to be elected through general elections. He was re-elected with an absolute majority in June 2018.
During the AKP’s first year in power, Turkey experienced a strong economic boom. In recent years, however, the economy has stagnated, with rampant inflation and unemployment, while, according to many observers, the country has developed in an authoritarian direction.
After the 2018 elections, Erdogan, through various laws and decrees, began to reshape the state apparatus in a way that basically meant that the previous parliamentarism was replaced by a presidential rule, with a very large concentration of power to the head of state.
At the same time, Erdogan and the AKP have given Islam an increasingly prominent place in historically strongly secular Turkey.
Turkey’s strongman for the past two decades was greeted by loud cheers from hundreds of supporters as he delivered his first speech after Sunday’s election.
— We will govern the next five years. With God’s help, we will earn your continued support, he said according to the AFP news agency.
As tens of thousands of supporters celebrated in Istanbul and Ankara, Erdogan said he wants to unite the country.
– Are you ready? One nation, one flag, one homeland. We shall be great, we shall be alive, we shall be brothers. Together we are Turkey.
Kemal Kiliçdaroglu was all the more dejected – but not defeated, he says.
— We must continue the fight. I ask you all to do it for the sake of democracy, he told his supporters in Ankara.
He describes the election as the most unfair in many years in Turkey and says that he is saddened that democracy lost.
— My real sadness is over the difficulties that await our country.
The country’s election authority has declared Erdogna the winner. With 99.8 percent of the votes counted in the second round of the presidential election, Erdogan receives 52.1 percent of the vote, compared to 47.9 for challenger Kiliçdaroglu.
The news agency Anka, which is close to the opposition, reports slightly weaker support for Erdogan – but it too states that he is heading for a win, with 51.9 percent against 47.9.
Erdogan supporters cheer outside the presidential palace in Ankara. Kristersson congratulated
The congratulations already started pouring in during the early evening.
Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson (M) signs Twitter that he congratulates and that “our common security is a future priority” referring to Sweden’s NATO application, which Erdogan has so far stopped.
Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre wishes Erdogan all the best and says, according to NTB, that Turkey is an important ally within NATO:
— Norway’s relationship with Turkey is good and we expect that Turkey will now ratify Sweden’s application for membership in NATO.
French President Emmanuel Macron, Ukrainian Volodymyr Zelenskyy, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán have also congratulated. Like Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Putin: Natural result
Putin salutes that: “Your victory is a natural result of your selfless work as the leader of Turkey” and praises Erdogan’s “contribution to strengthening the friendly ties” between the countries.
When the polls opened, most predicted that the incumbent president would win over Kiliçdaroglu, not least since the third candidate in the first round, Sinan Ogan, urged his voters to vote for Erdogan.
Opposition candidate Kemal Kiliçdaroglu gives his speech in Ankara.
According to the reports, election day itself was calm.
The main opposition party, Kiliçdaroglu’s CHP, says one of its own election observers was attacked in a village in southeastern Turkey, reports that have not been confirmed by independent sources. In other respects, there have been no reports of major fights.
Erdogan’s AKP party secured a continued majority in the chamber in the May 14 parliamentary election, provided the strongly nationalist MHP continues to act as a support party.