World News: Recep Tayyip Erdogan Wins Turkey Presidential Election Run-Off

The re-election of Recep Tayyip Erdogan as President of the Turkish Republic extinguishes Western ambitions to witness a change of political orientation, particularly in view of the geopolitical issues crystallized around Crimea, the Black Sea and Ukraine.

By choosing to re-elect Recep Tayip Erdogan as head of Turkey (52.14% of the votes cast), the Turks seem to have integrated the grievances that enabled his main rival Kemal Kiliçdaroglu to present himself as a credible rival in one of the closest elections.

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Thus, whether it is his assumed populist drift or the slowness of his reaction to judge the seriousness of the earthquake that occurred on February 6 in southern Turkey, nothing, surprising paradox, has finally altered the image of a man contested but become for his country unavoidable.

In terms of domestic policy, therefore, unless there is a new ambition, Turkey should not change its economic or social orientations even if Kemal Kiliçdaroglu's results will invite Erdogan to temper his speech and his projects in this area. However, it is on the level of foreign policy that this victory disappoints many nations, starting with the Western bloc which secretly hoped for the defeat of the outgoing president.

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Several reasons contribute to this disappointment, starting with Erdogan's ties with Vladimir Putin and perceived as irritating and ambiguous, Turkey deliberately displaying its position with regard to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The two men who now share the same sea, namely the Black Sea, are obviously geopolitically intimately linked.

However, Erdogan, and with him Turkey, which since the beginning of the war in Ukraine have dreamed of being an international mediator, have so far seen their diplomatic ambitions disappointed and showered.

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Perceiving the conflict as a way to raise Turkey to the rank of world power, at least a power in the eastern Mediterranean basin, Erdogan has always failed in this endeavor because thwarted in his diplomatic action by China, which now seeks to pose as an impartial conciliator for other reasons far removed from those of Erdogan. And, Vladimir Putin, much more sensitive to the weight of Beijing than that of Ankara, quickly turned his gaze to the Middle Kingdom to the detriment of the former Ottoman Empire, whose influence is secondary or even marginal in his eyes.

Turkish Soft Power

Another reason likely to disappoint the West is the versatility of diplomatic relations of Erdogan, obsessed, as Vladimir Putin can be, by the desire to restore to Turkey the influence and aura that the Ottoman Empire had.

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Without defending an expansionist territorial policy like Vladimir Putin, Erdogan has therefore articulated his relations with the Western world in this perspective, hurting and irritating Europeans and the United States by positions likely to antagonize each other or by a Turkish soft power very active in the eastern Mediterranean basin.

Finally, the last point explaining the disappointment of the West, the absence now recorded of seeing a country crossed by a growing agitation that clashes with the conservatism advocated by Erdogan. Aware that a diplomatic renewal is intrinsically linked to a global change of political orientation, Westerners will have to wait until the next election to hope to see Turkey in a new light.


Bio: Olivier Longhi has extensive experience in European history. A seasoned journalist with fifteen years of experience, he is currently professor of history and geography in the Toulouse region of France. He has held a variety of publishing positions, including Head of Agency and Chief of Publishing. A journalist, recognized blogger, editor, and editorial project manager, he has trained and managed editorial teams, worked as a journalist for various local radio stations, a press and publishing consultant, and a communications consultant.

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