Erdoğan begins era of executive presidency with clear victory

THE EDITORIAL BOARD
ISTANBUL
Published

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made history again on Sunday evening by winning a landslide victory in the first round of the June 24 presidential election. His Justice and Development Party (AK Party), which has been in power since 2002, received approximately 42 percent of the vote to win its sixth consecutive general election.

In other words, Mr. Erdoğan made history by becoming Turkey's first executive president and leading his party to an unprecedented number of general election victories. He will lead the country with a clear mandate for the next five years – until the Republic's centennial in 2023.

Erdoğan's hard-fought re-election campaign highlighted his strong track record and national security credentials. Making campaign stops across the country, he asked for support from people of all ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds. This combination of experience and outreach made the difference in the end. At the same time, the Turkish president's performance in large metropolitan areas, such as Istanbul and Ankara, suggested that the AK Party could proceed to win municipal elections in those key districts next year.

Meanwhile, opposition candidates primarily competed among themselves rather than chip away at the incumbent's base. A strong performance by Muharrem İnce, who was fielded by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), appears to have won back the hearts of disenfranchised CHP supporters from former Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) chairman Selahattin Demirtaş in western Turkish cities. Meral Akşener, who was hailed by the international media as the "she-wolf" that could topple Erdoğan, seems to have eaten into İnce's support rather than Erdoğan's.

Meanwhile in the parliamentary election, Akşener's Good Party (İP) dealt a heavy blow to the CHP, which received approximately 22 percent of the vote, rather than weakening Erdoğan's AK Party.

Ahead of Sunday's presidential and parliamentary elections, Daily Sabah predicted a first-round victory for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and a comfortable lead in the parliamentary race for the People's Alliance. Once again, we were proven right. By contrast, the overwhelming majority of international media outlets misled their audiences into thinking that the opposition could force a second round in the presidential election and win the majority of seats in Turkish Parliament. Going forward, we will continue to provide our readers with accurate and unbiased analyses on all things related to Turkey.

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