On May 28, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won a historic run-off poll to extend his two-decade rule to 2028. Erdogan won 52 per cent of the votes while his rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu received 48 per cent.
The victory will be an endorsement for the hard-liner politician’s populist politics amid a worsening economy and chronic hyperinflation in the country. The election was also a race between conservative Islamism championed by Erdogan and secular values espoused by Kemal. Erdogan’s win will also not augur well for the Kurdish minorities and LGBTQ community in the country.
After the historic mandate, the immediate focus on the domestic front would be to revitalise the ailing economy and rebuild the areas affected by the recent earthquake that killed around 50,000 people.
Erdogan’s unorthodox policies have been cited as one of the major reasons for the financial mess roiling the country.
Lifesaver for Moscow
At the international level, the election was closely followed, especially by the Eurasian nation’s NATO allies who have been uneasy with the country’s close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent avalanche of sanctions that the nation has had to endure, Turkey has become one of the few lifesavers for Moscow. Erdogan has insisted on maintaining economic and diplomatic links with the country and has sought to mediate between Moscow and Kyiv.
The US-Russia relations have run into troubled waters in the recent past. The US had slapped sanctions on Turkey in 2020 over its purchase of S-400 missile defence systems.
The US President, Joe Biden, said last week that Erdogan in a call had reiterated Ankara’s interest in buying F-16 fighter jets from the US, even as Washington wanted Ankara to end its opposition to Sweden joining NATO.
From India’s perspective, the relations with Ankara have not been so smooth with Turkey’s arguably biased stand on Kashmir, based on the Pakistani narrative.
Turkey had even skipped the G20 meet hosted by New Delhi recently. However, it is hoped that the relations between the two nations will get better in Erdogan’s historic third term in power.