Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken the oath of office, ushering in a third presidential term following three stints as prime minister.
Mr Erdogan, 69, won a new five-year term in a run-off presidential race last week, potentially stretching his 20-year rule in the key Nato country that straddles Europe and Asia into a quarter of a century.
He took the oath in a session in parliament before an inauguration ceremony to be attended by dozens of foreign dignitaries.
The Turkish leader will announce his new cabinet later today.
The line-up should indicate whether there will be a continuation of unorthodox economic policies or a return to more conventional ones amid a cost-of-living crisis.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, accompanied by his wife Emine Erdogan, greets participants during his inauguration ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Ankara
Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay (second from left) and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev (second from right) attend Erdogan’s inauguration ceremony
The country of 85 million controls Nato’s second-largest army, hosts millions of refugees and played a crucial role in brokering a deal that allowed the shipment of Ukraine grain, averting a global food crisis.
Mr Erdogan’s supporters waited outside parliament despite the heavy rain, covering his car with red carnations as he arrived.
Dozens of foreign dignitaries are travelling to attend the inauguration, including Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Carl Bildt, a high-profile former Swedish prime minister.
They are expected to press Mr Erdogan to lift his country’s objections to Sweden’s membership in the military alliance – which requires unanimous approval by all allies.
Turkey accuses Sweden of being too soft on Kurdish militants and other groups that Turkey considers to be terrorists. Nato wants to bring Sweden into the alliance by the time allied leaders meet in Lithuania on July 11-12, but Turkey and Hungary have yet to endorse the bid.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban will also be attending the ceremony.
According to state-run Anadolu Agency, other leaders in attendance include Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev, Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro, South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, Armenia’s Nikol Pashinyan, Pakistan’s Shahbaz Sharif, and Libya’s Abdul Hamid Dbeibah.
Mr Erdogan faces a host of domestic challenges, including a battered economy, pressure over the repatriation of millions of Syrian refugees and the need to rebuild after a devastating earthquake in February that killed 50,000 and levelled entire cities in the south of the country.
Turkey is grappling with a cost-of-living crisis fuelled by inflation that peaked at a staggering 85% in October before easing to 44% last month.
The Turkish currency has lost more than 10% of its value against the dollar since the start of the year.
Critics blame the turmoil on Mr Erdogan’s policy of lowering interest rates to promote growth, which runs contrary to conventional economic thinking that calls for raising rates to combat inflation.
Unconfirmed media reports say Mr Erdogan plans to reappoint Mehmet Simsek, a respected former finance minister and deputy prime minister, to the helm of the economy.
The move would signify a return by Turkey – which is the world’s 19th largest economy according to the World Bank – to more orthodox economic policies.
In power as prime minister and then as president since 2003, Mr Erdogan is already Turkey’s longest-serving leader.
He has solidified his rule through constitutional changes that transformed Turkey’s presidency from a largely ceremonial role to a powerful office.
Critics say his second decade in office was marred by sharp democratic backsliding, including the erosion of institutions such as the media and judiciary and the jailing of opponents and critics.
Mr Erdogan defeated opposition challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu in a run-off vote held on May 28, after he narrowly failed to secure an outright victory in a first round of voting on May 14.
Mr Kilicdaroglu had promised to put Turkey on a more democratic path and improve relations with the West.
International observers deemed the elections to be free but not fair.
Following Erdogan’s victory in the run-off election on May 28, thousands of people took the streets of Ankara and Istanbul holding flares and flags in jubilattion, while similar scenes were seen in Berlin.
He won 52.14 per cent of the votes, with his rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu winning 47.86 per cent, and taunted his challenger: ‘Bye bye bye Kemal’.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was amongst the first world leaders to congratulate the presiding leader, who he called his ‘dear friend’. He said the win was evidence that the Turkish people appreciated Erdogan’s ‘independent foreign policy’.
He was followed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak who said he looks forward to ‘growing trade’ and collaborating as ‘Nato allies’ with Turkey’s president.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaking at the presidential palace in Ankara following his re-election
Thousands of people took the streets of Ankara and Istanbul holding flares and flags to celebrate the result
Erdogan’s supporters took to the streets to celebrate their leader’s re-election
Thousands gathered in the Turkish capital of Ankara as they awaited Erdogan’s victory speech
Erdogan addressing the crowds at his victory party at the presidential palace in Ankara
He Tweeted: ‘Congratulations to Erdogan. I look forward to continuing the strong collaboration between our countries, from growing trade to tackling security threats as NATO allies.’
US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy have also sent their well wishes.
Erdogan’s secular opposition rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu, 74 branded the presidential race as ‘the most unjust election’ of Turkey’s history’, as he spoke to supporters ahead of the announcement.
Declaring victory before the official announcement, Erdogan thanked his supporters in Istanbul for entrusting him with the ‘responsibility to govern this country once again for the upcoming five years’.
He ridiculed his opposition for his loss shouting ‘bye bye bye, Kemal’ as his supporters booed and told the crowd ‘the only winner today is Turkey’.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won the Turkish election, extending his iron rule into the third decade
Earlier today he told his supporters while speaking on top of his campaign bus that they were together ‘until the grave’ before ridiculing his opposition’s loss shouting ‘bye bye bye, Kemal’
As the polls closed those supporters of the incumbent took to the streets with Turkish flags celebrating his victory
Thousands gathered at the presidential palace in Ankara following Erdogan’s win
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was among those who congratulated the President on his re-election
Addressing a sea of supporters waving flags and torches outside his presidential palace in Ankara last night, the country’s longest-serving leader said: ‘We should come together in unity and solidarity. We call for this with all our heart.’
Kilicdaroglu’s coalition grouped Erdogan’s disenchanted former allies with secular nationalists and religious conservatives.
He pushed Erdogan into Turkey’s first run-off vote after neither won 50 per cent in the first round on May 14.
After casting his ballot yesterday, Kilicdaroglu declared: ‘I invite all my citizens to cast their ballot in order to get rid of this authoritarian regime and bring true freedom and democracy to this country.’
Erdogan’s victory has potential implications for the rest of Nato and the Ukraine war, given his close relationship with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s geographical importance as the gateway to the Black Sea and Ukraine’s ports.
While Kilicdaroglu’s supporters commiserate tonight’s results, the avid supporters of the President were heard chanting ‘bye, bye, bye Kemu’, honking horns and singing in the capital.
Speaking in Ankara following Erdogan’s announcement, Kilicdaroglu said warned of dark days ahead for Turkey.
He said: ‘I wasn’t able to defend your rights. I did not shirk against an unjust structure, I could not be a silent devil and I was not.
‘I could not stand quiet against millions of people becoming second-class citizens in this country.
Addressing a sea of supporters waving flags and torches outside his presidential palace in Ankara last night, the country’s longest-serving leader said: ‘We should come together in unity’
People waved flares and flags to celebrate Erdogan’s re-election
A woman waving from a taxi in Istanbul following Erdogan’s election win
Turks living in Berlin were seen celebrating on the streets of the German capital
‘I could not let them stand all over your rights. For your children to go to bed hungry. For farmers to not to be able to produce. I could not allow these things.’
Following Erdogan’s declaration, the Turkish lira slipped to a fresh record low, opening at 20.05 to the dollar as a new trading week got underway.
Vladimir Putin was amongst the first world leaders to congratulate the President on his reelection.
He said: ‘The victory in the elections was a natural result of your selfless work as head of the Republic of Turkey, a clear evidence of the Turkish people’s support for your efforts to strengthen state sovereignty and pursue an independent foreign policy.
‘We highly appreciate your personal contribution to the strengthening of friendly Russian-Turkish relations and mutually beneficial cooperation in various areas. I would like to confirm our readiness to continue our constructive dialogue on topical issues on the bilateral, regional and international agenda.
Erdogan’s victory has potential implications for the rest of Nato and the Ukraine war, given his close relationship with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s geographical importance as the gateway to the Black Sea and Ukraine’s ports
Speaking in Ankara following Erdogan’s announcement, Kilicdaroglu said the presidential race had been ‘the most unjust election’ of Turkey’s history
People watching the election result in Istanbul as the Turkish High Election Board announced he had received 52.14 per cent of the votes, with his rival Kilicdaroglu winning 47.86 per cent
Supporters of Erdogan celebrate near Taksim Square in Istanbul as the president declares victory
Kilicdaroglu, chairman of Turkey’s Republican People’s Party Chairman, greets his supporters as he left the polling station
‘We attach great importance to the consistent implementation of the planned joint projects, primarily the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant and the creation of a gas hub in Turkey.’
President Biden said: ‘I look forward to continuing to work together as NATO Allies on bilateral issues and shared global challenges.’
Brazil’s President Lula De Silva wished Erdogan a ‘good term’, while President Zelenskyy said he hopes the two countries will ‘develop our cooperation for the security and stability of Europe’.
Leaders from Qatar, Libya and Azerbaijan, also congratulated Erdogan on his ‘victory’.
Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani was the first to congratulate Turkey’s president on winning the election – even though the result is yet to be announced. In a tweet, the Emir wished Erdogan success in his new term.
Erdogan, head of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, appealed to voters with nationalist and conservative rhetoric during a divisive campaign that deflected attention from deep economic troubles.
The defeat of Kilicdaroglu, who promised to set the country on a more democratic and collaborative path, would likely be cheered in Moscow but mourned in Western capitals and much of the Middle East after Turkey took a more confrontational and independent stance in foreign affairs.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk