Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Nigeria: Army denies reports of missing soldiers after Boko Haram attacks

Read more

FOCUS

Despite economic blockade and corruption scandals, Qatar prepares for its 2022 World Cup

Read more

ENCORE!

Beatmaker & singer Estère brings her musical melting pot to Afropunk Paris

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Iran water shortages, street art in Yemen, and more

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Maltese foreign minister: ‘We need to implement legal paths of migration into Europe’

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

FIFA takes home revenue of over €5 billion from World Cup

Read more

IN THE PRESS

Les Bleus 2018: The new 'tsars' of world football

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Eurogroup chief Centeno: ‘We need to an end what seems to be a trade war’

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Trump rocks the boat in UK

Read more

Europe

Erdogan's triumph 'brings Turkey closer to Russia than the EU'

© Kayhan Ozer/AFP | Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan waves supporters from the headquarters of the AK Party in Ankara, on June 24, 2018

Text by Louise NORDSTROM

Latest update : 2018-06-26

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday prepared to extend his grip on Turkey after winning an election marred by unfair campaigning conditions. FRANCE 24 spoke to the EU's former ambassador to Turkey to analyse the vote and its implications.

Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics with his Justice and Development Party (AKP) for the past 15 years, scored a comfortable victory in Sunday’s parliamentary and presidential elections, eliminating the threat of a second round of voting. His new mandate ushers in a powerful executive presidency that was narrowly backed in a 2017 referendum – a change the main opposition candidate, Muharrem Ince, has said will bring Turkey under a "one-man rule".

Muharrem İnce: "Turkey has transitioned to a one man regime"

FRANCE 24 spoke to Marc Pierini, a former EU ambassador and head of the delegation to Turkey between 2006 and 2011, about the ballot and what’s in store for Turkey going forward.

Erdogan’s bigger-than-expected win has taken many by surprise, but where does this widespread support come from?

Marc Pierini: Erdogan could not afford to lose this election, so all the possible means were used: unfair campaign, state of emergency, intimidation, and probably some plain ballot stuffing and biased counting. The very solid AKP networks throughout the country did their job, even if, by Western standards, this was an unfair competition.

OSCE Observers on Turkey elections: "We were informed of the detention of 300 party activists"

How do Erdogan’s supporters view him and why do they support his bid for greater powers?

MP: We are witnessing what some have called the “Reis [Chief] syndrome”, the perception that because Turkey is split between very diverse segments it needs a strong man at the helm, whatever the price is. Over the past 15 and a half years, Erdogan has managed to embody this perception. Although a one-man-rule system of governance is shocking for most Europeans, it probably is not to half the Turkish population.

Erdogan argues that these extended powers are necessary to revive the economy and “crush” Kurdish rebels. But are there other, more personal reasons?

MP: Apart from the terrorism argument and the economic promises, other factors come into play: the unresolved corruption allegations, the fear factor induced by the failed military coup of 2016, the feeling that Western countries play against Turkey.

Institutionally, Turkey is now an autocracy, whose governance system is entirely divorced from Western or European standards: no independent judiciary, no free press, no free civil society. It is going to remain that way.

This evolution brings Erdogan’s Turkey closer to Russia than the EU or the US.

Turkey elections: "The question is what kind of ruling Erdogan has in mind?"

What are the chances of Turkey ever joining the European Union under this system?

MP: Chances of accession are zero, this prospect is now out of the way. And Ankara is by definition not going to move closer to EU standards: it cannot and has no intention of doing so. And the EU will not give a “discount” to Turkey on its democratic standards.

Muharrem Ince garnered a lot of support for his programme to rid Turkey of “Erdoganism”. Can he be viewed as having been a “serious contender” considering the obstacles he and other candidates faced in the lead-up to the vote?

MP: The Ince campaign was strong and appealing to many Turks, but the unfairness of the competition was too high to overcome [180 hours of television coverage for Erdogan vs. 21 for all his opponents combined]. Given the means used by the incumbent leadership during the campaign and the vote counting, there is no way we can measure Ince’s real support in the country. But at least, he and others were able to express themselves.

Date created : 2018-06-25

  • Turkey

    'I accept these election results,' says Erdogan rival Ince

    Read more

  • TURKEY

    Erdogan declared winner in Turkey presidential election

    Read more

  • TURKEY

    As it happened: Erdogan claims victory in Turkey polls

    Read more

COMMENT(S)