Is Turkey Still a Democracy? Erdogan Assumes New Powers

Is Turkey Still a Democracy? Erdogan Assumes New Powers

Is Turkey Still a Democracy? Erdogan Assumes New Powers

The White House said Monday that it is working to set up a phone call between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his USA counterpart Donald Trump to "reaffirm the strong bond" between the two countries following the Turkish president's election victory.

Erdogan's ruling party and its nationalist ally also appeared to secure a majority in the legislature, based on unofficial results published by both the state-run news agency and the opposition-linked Election Justice Platform, which was monitoring the count.

Speaking early Monday, Supreme Election Council head Sadi Guven said 97.7 percent of votes had been counted and declared Erdogan the victor, according to the Associated Press.

Results released by Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency based on data from the YSK also gave Erdogan a clear majority of votes. Final results are due to be published by the Supreme Election Board (YSK) later this week but its chairman Sadi Guven declared Erdogan the victor.

The figures could yet change as final ballot boxes are opened.

There has been less tension between Turkey and the USA since a preliminary agreement was reached on American military support for the People's Protection Units in Manbij at the start of the month. The United Nations say some 160,000 people have been detained and almost as many more, including teachers, judges and soldiers, sacked.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) was polling 11 percent, well over the 10 percent minimum threshold needed to win 46 seats, which would make it the second largest opposition party in the new chamber. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses supporters outside his official residence in Istanbul, Sunday, June 24, 2018.

"We encourage all of Turkey's elected representatives, including President Erdogan, to represent the diverse views of all of Turkey's citizens and to strengthen Turkey's democracy". The president's prime challenger, Muharrem Ince, who had warned his supporters of possible fraud, had not conceded as of early Monday morning in Turkey. But after initially saying Erdogan would fall well short of a first-round victory, it said it would continue its democratic struggle "whatever the result".

Many in Turkey (and abroad) see Erdogan as a flourishing authoritarian who is leading Turkey away from the democracy it embraced upon its modern founding after World War I. Since that time, Turkey has also insisted on strict secularism.

Erdogan's victory ensures he'll stay in office for 20 years - until 2023 - and ushers in a powerful new executive presidency that eliminates the prime minister's role.

In the parliamentary election, Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) got 42.5 percent, 7 percent less than in the previous election, forcing it into an alliance with the MHP, which surprisingly obtained 11 percent.

If confirmed, the results will mean Erdogan, who still enjoys sky-high support in parts of the Anatolian heart of the country, even improved on his score from the 2014 presidential elections of 51.8%. "Yes, they did. But did they steal 10 million votes? No". There are several problems to face: the decline of the Turkish lira, a massive 12 per cent rate of inflation and the perception that Erdogan is curtailing the central bank's independence. But supporters love Erdogan for bringing economic growth and security.

Turkey has been under a state of emergency since a failed coup in July 2016, with 107,000 public servants and soldiers dismissed from their jobs.

The victory allows Erdogan to further consolidate political power and implement the constitutional reforms.

Luxembourg's foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, noted on Monday it is now up to Erdogan to decide whether Turkey's relations with the European Union will improve.

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