President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cemented his place in Turkish politics as the longest-serving leader with a runoff victory on Sunday against Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu
As millions held their breath in the first runoff he faced, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan left his mark in the history of the Republic of Türkiye with another win on Sunday.
The preliminary results announced by the Supreme Election Council (YSK), based on the count of 99.43% of the vote, awarded Erdoğan 52.14% of the vote, against his rival Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s 47.86%. YSK Chair Ahmet Yener officially announced Erdoğan as the next president based on unofficial results at a news conference.
A triumphant Erdoğan addressed his supporters briefly outside his residence in Istanbul’s Kısıklı district after most of the ballots were counted, before heading to the capital Ankara, to the Presidential Complex for his election victory speech. In most provinces, streets were filled with jubilant supporters of the president, as cars honked horns and people waved Turkish flags and posters of Erdoğan. Outside the Presidential Complex, a massive crowd (of about 320,000, according to Erdoğan) awaited the president for hours before he climbed up on a stage set up in front of the building for his speech.
Erdoğan thanked citizens who “once again” gave him the responsibility of serving the country as he commenced his speech.
“You did not abandon the People’s Alliance, and we walked this path together. Are you ready to build the ‘Century of Türkiye’ together?” he said, referring to his ambitious plan of reforms for the centenary of the Republic of Türkiye.
The president highlighted that “all 85 million people” of Türkiye “won today,” regardless of the candidate they supported, praising the nation’s will for democracy. “Nobody lost today. We are not offended by anyone’s choice. It is time to set aside everything and become united to achieve our national dreams. It is a heartfelt call,” he said.
Erdogan also criticized the opposition in his speech and said the nation was not “deceived” by the opposition supported by the terrorist groups. “They pledged to release Selo (Selahattin Demirtaş) but my nation knows well that it is this Selo who caused the deaths of my Kurdish brothers in Diyarbakır,” he said, referring to the incitement of deadly riots by Demirtaş, co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) who is currently jailed. The HDP is known for its links to the PKK terrorist group.
“It is time to reach the highest level of democracy and development goals late Adnan Menderes gave his life for,” he said, referring to the prime minister who won the first multiparty elections, only to be hanged by a military junta that overthrew him. “We faced different alliances but they failed and they will fail again. There is no struggle we cannot overcome,” he said.
On his post-election work, Erdoğan said they would continue devoting all their time to work for the country, prioritizing healing the wounds in provinces hit by the Feb. 6 earthquakes. “Another urgent matter is addressing to the problems stemming from price rises caused by inflation. It is not a difficult task for us. You will see that the inflation will fall as the interest rates fell,” he said. [daily sabah]