On June 24, citizens of Turkey voted in what was one of the most important elections in the nearly 95-year history of their republic. The election was unusually important for a number of reasons. It was important in part because voters cast ballots not in one contest but two: a presidential and a parliamentary contest. The fact that it was the first election under a substantially amended constitution that redefines the roles of president and parliament and assigns vastly expanded powers to the presidency was another. A third reason is that the election was in effect a referendum on Turkeyâs current president, Recep Tayyip ErdoÄan, who has dominated Turkish politics for the past 16 years and who has had an impact on the republic second only to that of its founder, Mustafa Kemal AtatÃ¼rk. The election unequivocally ended in a major victory for ErdoÄan, and it positions him to pursue and perhaps fulfill his ambition to surpass in impact AtatÃ¼rk, whom he regards not only as his competitor in the realm of historical influence but as an ideological opponent. ErdoÄanâs ultimate ambition is to transform Turkey from the republic that AtatÃ¼rk founded into the one that ErdoÄan remade. Fulfilling this vision by the centenary in 2023 provides ErdoÄan a tangible goal.
Erdoğan’s successes unlikely to help Turkey – analyst
In overcoming an almost-united set of strong challengers for the presidency, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has kept up his long run of electoral successes, but his many talents may not translate into success for Turkey as a whole, Michael A. Reynolds wrote for the Foreign Policy Research Institute.
“To untangle the Kurdish Question would require leadership that possesses enormous political talent, creative ambition, unusually farsighted vision, and sincere concern for the wellbeing of the population of Turkey. Erdoğan has demonstrated that he possesses the first two qualities,” Reynolds said.
“He has managed to refashion Turkey into a presidential republic and achieve election as president with his party in effective control of parliament. He has inarguably done well for himself. But the same record gives little reason to think he will do nearly as much for Turkey.”
Erdoğan had beaten a newly revitalised opposition despite signs to the contrary, Reynolds said.
“This is not to suggest he won a fair election. Space does not permit discussion of the ways in which Erdoğan hamstrung his opponents from the denial of media coverage to putting them under arrest, as police did with much of the HDP,” he added.