November 2, 2015 | Quote

‘Simply a Disaster’: The Results of Turkey’s Historic Election Were Surprising — and Ominous

On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Erdogan and his party regained their parliamentary majority in a landslide win that outperformed every poll and surprised even the most seasoned analysts.

The win has given Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) an indisputable mandate to govern, implicitly granting legitimacy to the authoritarian tactics undertaken by the president in the run-up to elections.

“The national will manifested itself on November 1 in favour of stability,” Erdogan told reporters after praying at a mosque in Istanbul, adding that the world must respect the results of the election.

But around the world, concerns linger that the win has only served to further embolden a man with decidedly authoritarian ambitions and strain the country’s traditional alliances.


“The elections results could push Turkey further into authoritarianism as the AKP continues to undermine the rule of law and undertake reprisals against the opposition,” Aykan Erdemir, a nonresident fellow at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies and a former member of Turkish parliament, told Business Insider by email.

“Under four years of single-party rule by the AKP, Turkey could drift further from the European Union and NATO.”

And Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of the Foundation for the Defence of Democracies, thinks this new mandate will only inflame tensions further.

“This is a deeply troubling development that will [give] Erdogan more of a free hand to pursue many dangerous foreign policies, including Turkish support for jihadi groups in Syria and the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas,” Schanzer told Business Insider by email.

He added: “It will also give Erdogan a free hand to intensity his campaign against the Kurds.”

“Sunday’s election results pave the way for a Putin-style presidency in Turkey,” Schanzer said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s despotic tendencies.

“The AKP used the five-month run-up to the snap elections to crack down on opposition NGOs and businesses, take over critical media, and intimidate journalists and opposition figures, and this strategy has seemed to produce significant gains for Erdoğan,” Erdemir wrote in an op-ed for Politico Europe.

“He will most likely try to settle scores with the remaining critical media, businesses and NGOs, thus further undermining Turkey’s democracy, rights and freedoms, and rule of law,” he added. “The next general elections, expected to take place in 2019, could end up being the most unfair and fraudulent elections to date.”


Read the full article here