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News, May 2023
Erdogan Wins Turkiye Presidential Election with 52 Percent of Votes, Vows to Set up Reputable Economy Team
May 29, 2023
All-embracing Erdoğan emerges winner of Türkiyes most critical vote
BY DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
ISTANBUL MAY 29, 2023
'The only winner is Türkiye,' President Erdoğan said in his election victory speech as the veteran leaders new tenure ushers in a new era in Türkiye after a presidential race watched by the world
Akey player in international affairs and a dominant force in local politics, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is back for another tenure. The incumbent president won more than 52% of the vote in Sunday's second round of presidential elections, according to unofficial results, securing a five-year tenure as Türkiyes leader. Now the longest-serving among the presidents of the Republic of Türkiye, the president hailed it as a victory for Türkiye. The only winner today is Türkiye, he said, highlighting that he would never discriminate against anyone who did not vote for him. The beginning of the Century of Türkiye was another theme of his victory speech at the Presidential Complex early Monday.
The election was closely watched by the world due to Erdoğans rising role in global affairs as Türkiye raised its diplomatic profile, from brokering a grain deal to emerging as a country more independent from the West it long relied on for its defense and borrowing needs. Developments in its immediate region, from conflicts in its neighbor Syria and between its close allies Ukraine and Russia also increased the importance of the elections. For his supporters encompassing the Arab and Muslim world he maintains warm ties with, Erdoğans win was also significant.
Leaders across the world sent their congratulations, highlighting the enlarged role of Türkiye and Erdoğan in global politics, especially at a time of delicate diplomatic maneuvers Türkiye pursues over the future of the NATO alliance under the shadow of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Türkiyes close ties with Russia also highlight Erdoğans importance in the resolution of the global food crisis and energy security. According to the media outlets, the president was scheduled to hold a phone call with U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday night, a rare meeting for the leaders of the two countries at odds on a number of issues.
Often portrayed as a divisive leader by the Western media, Erdoğan, who repeatedly underlined his respect for supporters of his rivals while hitting out at their leaders on the campaign trail, renewed his embracing tone in a victory speech. I thank every citizen, regardless of their choice, who cast their ballots and proved the strength of our democracy, Erdoğan said in his speech. We always accepted the outcome of elections and we always respect the nations will. Türkiye, as a whole, won today. Every segment of our nation won. I said it before and will say it again: Nobody will lose when we won. We have a responsibility given by our nation and this requires us not to distance ourselves from any member of the nation, he said, highlighting that it was time to stand united. Power of Türkiye lies within the unity of 85 million people, he added.
Western media's view
Erdoğan's victory received extensive coverage in Western media outlets, including those criticized by Erdoğan for their biased coverage of the elections and his portrayals as an "autocrat." Media reports stressed the global and regional significance of Türkiye. The London-based weekly The Economist, which published a cover with the subheadline "Erdoğan must go," said in an article that the opposition lost the best shot in a generation of unseating Mr. Erdoğan. As in many elections before, rumours of Recep Tayyip Erdoğans political demise turned out to be vastly exaggerated, an article in the weekly began.
The British public broadcaster BBC stressed that Erdoğan's victory matters for the West given Türkiye's global strategic significance, which increased even further against the backdrop of the ongoing war in Ukraine. "The West used to describe Turkey's strategic importance as the bridge between Europe and the Middle East but Russia's invasion of Ukraine has transformed Turkey's status," it said, noting that world leaders rushed to congratulate Erdoğan's election victory.
Skynews, a major private broadcaster in the U.K., similarly underlined that "Türkiye holds a unique position in world politics, both as the junction between Europe and Asia and as the gatekeeper to the Black Sea." In a separate analysis, the broadcaster also said: "Erdoğan has once again proved critics wrong and out-maneuvered his toughest challengers." The major British daily Guardian said Erdoğan appealed for national unity in the victory speech he delivered to hundreds of thousands of Turkish citizens who gathered outside the Presidential Complex in the capital Ankara.
Germany's public television ARD highlighted that Erdoğan received messages of congratulations from all over the world on Sunday night on his election victory. "Erdoğan democratically won the elections in Türkiye," reporter Uwe Lueb said in a commentary published on ARD's website, adding that there have been no allegations of electoral fraud. "Now he has mammoth political tasks ahead," he stressed, referring to the economy, recovery efforts in the earthquake region, and the ongoing domestic debate about the Syrian refugee issue.
The weekly Der Spiegel reported that Turkish citizens living in Germany overwhelmingly voted for Erdoğan in the presidential runoff.
In France, the daily Le Figaro wrote on its website on Monday: "Erdoğan master of Türkiye for five more years," and covered Erdoğan supporters' celebrations in the country, while the daily Le Monde said the president won a third term. The weekly Le Point on its website said Erdoğan's victory was "no surprise," and the daily Liberation on its headline said: "Türkiye: Erdoğan forever," noting that the president's supporters celebrated across the country on Sunday.
In Italy, the public broadcaster RAI stressed that numerous world leaders, including those of the major Western countries, congratulated Erdoğan on his reelection to office. The daily La Repubblica, citing Turkish citizens it interviewed, said Turkish people are convinced that Erdoğan "will fix the things."
Belgium media outlets also covered Erdoğan's victory. "Elections in Türkiye: Erdoğan, eternal winner" was the daily Le Soir's website headline on Monday, while La Libre announced Erdoğan's victory, as well. Swiss newspapers similarly covered Erdoğan's victory on Monday. World leaders congratulated Erdoğan, the daily Le Matin said, marking Erdoğan's invincibility.
Very extensively covering the Turkish elections, the Greek public broadcaster noted that Erdoğan's victory did not come as a surprise to Athens. Speaking to ERT, Alexandros Diakopoulos, the former national security adviser, said that "the (Turkish) people want a strong leader and Erdoğan projects this model." The daily Kathimerini stressed Erdoğan's promise of "the century of Türkiye." Another major daily, Ta Nea, said: "He (Erdoğan) won this election by literally standing alone against everyone." A columnist in the daily To Vima praised Erdoğan's "pragmatic and accommodating foreign policy," saying: "Türkiye needs the West and the West needs Türkiye."
Bulgaria's state-run news agency BTA shared the Turkish election results without much commenting on them. Albania's English-language Albanian Daily News highlighted the messages by world leaders and Türkiye's strategic importance in regional and global affairs.
Erdoğan vows to set up reputable economy team with eyes on inflation
BY DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL MAY 29, 2023
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he would be setting up a reputable finance management team late Sunday, as he termed inflation the most urgent issue after an election victory that lengthened his rule into a third decade.
Erdoğan won a new five-year mandate by securing 52.2% of the vote in the presidential runoff, compared to rival Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu's 47.8%, according to preliminary results.
Addressing supporters in a victory speech, Erdoğan said, "Now is the time to put the disputes and conflicts of the election period to one side and unite around our national goals."
The president has stressed he would remain committed to his low interest-rate economic blueprint after the vote and said inflation, which hit a 24-year peak of 85% last year before easing, is Türkiye's most critical problem.
Türkiye has been struggling with high inflation that has undermined the purchasing power of its citizens, as well as a steep depreciation in the Turkish lira. In response, the government adopted a strategy based on reducing borrowing costs to combat rising prices and stimulate economic growth.
Türkiye is also trying to emerge from the effects of devastating earthquakes that ripped through the country's southeastern region in early February.
The rationale behind the government's economic program is to stimulate domestic demand, boost investment and consequently drive economic growth. In addition, it insists that the program, unveiled in 2021, can help flip the country's chronic current account deficits to a surplus.
Erdoğan late Sunday said inflation was the country's most urgent issue, but it would also fall, following the central bank's policy rate cut to 8.5% from 19% two years ago.
"Eliminating the problems caused by price increases spurred by inflation, compensating for welfare losses is the most urgent topic of the coming days," he told his supporters at his palace in Ankara.
Erdoğan said they would build a "strong economic management on the concept of trust and stability."
"We are designing an economy focused on investment and employment, with a finance management team that has an international reputation," he added.
Erdoğan has promised to spend whatever is necessary to reconstruct the southeastern region leveled by the Feb. 6 tremors that killed more than 50,000 people and caused extensive destruction across 11 provinces.
"Healing the wounds of the Feb. 6 earthquakes, the disaster of the century, and getting our destroyed cities back on their feet will continue to be at the top of our priorities," he said.
In addition to these efforts, the president has increased public-sector wages, boosted pensions, allowed early retirement for millions, introduced subsidies for electricity and gas and wiped out some household debt.
"It is not difficult to heal the wounds of the earthquake and to eliminate the problems caused by inflation; we have proved this by lowering the interest rate," Erdoğan said.
"Currently, the interest rate has been reduced to 8.5%, and you will see that inflation will also come down."
The inflation has moderated over the last six months and lastly eased to an annual 43.68% in April, almost halving from 85.
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