Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has retained his position as the President of Turkey in the country’s recent general election, thus giving him control of the reins of power for another five years.
The 69-year-old leader is no neophyte; he served as Turkey’s prime minister from 2003 to 2014.
He also served as mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998 and has been a co-founder of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) since 2001.
Now regarded as Turkey’s strong man, Erdoğan has been in power for over 20 years.
He prevailed in the recent runoff election that opposition members harbored thoughts of winning given the economic conditions and mood for a change by a large section of the population.
With nearly 90 percent of the electorate showing up to vote, he won the second-round election with 52.2%, besting opponent Kemal Kilicdaroglu’s 47.8%.
A close margin, some would argue, but one which would again elicit Erdoğan’s past response, “there were even those who did not like the Prophet. I, however, won 52.2%.”
His major goals now must be to fix the economy, bring his polarized population together, and rebuild the parts of the country devastated by the recent earthquake.
That said, Erdoğan has maintained a complicated relationship with the U.S., E.U., and NATO members.
He has straddled his relationship between Russia and Ukraine and, in instances, sided with Russia to the chagrin of some E.U., NATO members, and the U.S.
Erdoğan has tried to play kingmaker in the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia. He helped broker a crucial deal that allowed Ukrainian grain shipments and averted a global food crisis.
Undoubtedly, many had hoped that Kilicdaroglu’s win at the polls would have brought about a rollback of much of Erdoğan’s domestic, foreign, and economic policies.
However, that was not to be, as the electorate’s vote of confidence in Erdoğan continues despite crippling inflation and the effects of a devastating earthquake.
Erdoğan has received congratulations for his win at the polls from world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Putin said Erdogan’s victory was “clear evidence” that the Turkish people support his efforts to “strengthen state sovereignty and pursue an independent foreign policy.”
Meanwhile, Zelenskyy said he was counting on building the partnership between the two countries and strengthening cooperation “for the security and stability of Europe.”
Erdoğan had promised a deeper relationship with Putin throughout his election campaign despite the anti-Putin position taken by the West for his invasion of Ukraine.
Now that he has won another 5-year term, one could chalk up his re-election victory as a win for Putin.