Monday, 24 September, 2018

The inexorable decline of the Turkish lira under Erdogan

GETTYFans out in support of President Erdogan GETTYFans out in support of President Erdogan
Elsie Buchanan | 26 June, 2018, 06:25

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan handily won re-election Sunday, cementing his hold on power with huge new authority, but his historic victory was tempered after his ruling party was deprived of a majority in a concurrent parliamentary vote and the opposition refusal to concede.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is preparing to extend his rule and take on new powers after his victory in elections on Sunday. But critics accuse the Turkish strongman, 64, of trampling on civil liberties and autocratic behaviour.

Addressing the nation in his balcony speech on Sunday, Erdogan promised to improve the state of personal rights and freedoms in Turkey.

Mr Ince, who won 30.6% of the presidential vote, warned that Turkey was heading down a path towards autocracy.

Erdoğan struck a defiant tone in his victory speech early on Monday in Ankara, saying Turkey had set "an example" for the rest of the world, vowing to carry on military campaigns in Syria, fight terror groups and raise Turkey's worldwide prestige.

"It's time for change", said Aynur, 40, an architect who cast her vote at a polling station near Istanbul's central Taksim Square. A crackdown launched after the coup has seen 160,000 people detained, and the state of emergency allows Erdogan to bypass parliament with decrees.

Fadi Hakura said he does not believe there will be much change to Turkey's refugee policy, but that "in the short term, it will end the 2016 European agreement", which sends migrants arriving in Greece back to Turkey.

"I remember a time when we had to wake up at 4 a.m.to go to the hospital because the lines were so long".

Those new powers include the ability to "directly appoint top public officials, including ministers and vice presidents; The power to intervene in the country's legal system; and the power to impose a state of emergency".

The initial official results of the Turkish presidential and parliamentary election, held on Sunday, have emerged, signaling an expected win for the incumbent president and his party.

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Turkey's main opposition candidate Muharrem Ince has conceded defeat in Sunday's presidential and parliamentary elections, calling on the victor, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who returns as president, to end his divisive policies.

This brings the combined share of parliamentary power of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and MHP to 53.6% - majority needed by Erdogan, who failed to win an outright majority in parliament.

Although Erdogan dominated airtime on a pliant mainstream media, Ince finished his campaign with eye-catching mass rallies, including a mega meeting in Istanbul on Saturday attended by hundreds of thousands. In Turkey itself, the turnout was some 87%, with 52% voting for Erdogan.

But what do the election results mean for Turkey and the rest of the world?

İnce, a former physics teacher, ran a dynamic campaign that energised an opposition movement that had struggled to find charismatic leaders to represent them.

"Be the president of 81 million (Turks), embrace everyone", he said.

The 64-year-old president, the most popular leader in recent decades, told jubilant, flag-waving supporters there would be no retreat from his drive to transform Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member and a candidate to join the European Union. Western countries will undoubtedly continue to cooperate with Turkey on areas of shared interest, express concern about differences, and encourage adherence to rule of law. The TRT journalists left.

AK Party supporters clogged a main road in the capital Ankara leading to party headquarters honking horns in celebration.

In the opposition camp, the CHP had 23% and the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) 11% - above the threshold it needs to reach to enter parliament.

The party's success comes despite the fact its presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtas is in a high-security prison on terror charges, which he firmly denies.

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