Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has emerged victorious in Turkey’s presidential election, securing 52.17 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results. The hotly contested election saw opposition candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu receiving 47.83 percent. However, the outcome has been marred by controversy and allegations of an unfair electoral process.
Erdoğan supporters chanted “Death to Selo”
During his traditional balcony speech following the election, Erdoğan directed his attention once again toward Selahattin Demirtaş, the imprisoned former co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). Supporters of Erdoğan chanted “Death to Selo”, further intensifying the polarised atmosphere.
Throughout the pre-election campaign, President Erdoğan frequently targeted the pro-Kurdish opposition and his rival Kılıçdaroğlu, who argued for Demirtaş’s release in accordance with rulings from both Turkey’s own Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights.
Kılıçdaroğlu vowed to continue the struggle for democracy
Kılıçdaroğlu, in his first statement after the unofficial results were announced, characterised the election process as “the most unfair in recent years,” asserting that state resources were disproportionately allocated to one political party and favourably biased toward Erdoğan.
“I could not remain quiet and become complicit with my silence in the face of persecution, in the face of a regime with no right, so law and no justice, and I did not,” said the challenger, pledging to persist in his fight for democracy in Turkey.
“As a brother, a friend, a son, an uncle and above all as a person of this land, I have strived and will continue to strive for your rights, for justice, ensuring that no one suppresses you and that you live in harmony, so that you may thrive in abundance and prosperity,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
During a press conference on Sunday, spokespersons from the Green Left Party and the HDP echoed Kılıçdaroğlu’s sentiments, decrying the Turkish presidential election for its inequalities, repression and dissemination of misinformation. İbrahim Akın, the Green Left Party’s spokesman, stressed the party’s unwavering dedication to regime change and its advocacy of realistic promises to cultivate a democratic society amidst a choice between authoritarianism and democracy.
Demirtaş: “Let us never surrender”
Meanwhile, Demirtaş, who has been the target of Erdoğan’s rhetoric, expressed his views on the election proceedings through a series of tweets posted from his prison cell. Demirtaş characterised the elections as resembling an operation orchestrated by the incumbent government, rather than a fair and balanced electoral process.
“We have not been defeated, and because of that, there is no reason for anyone to lose hope. Let us never surrender. Let us keep fighting,” said Demirtaş.
The aftermath of the Turkish presidential election has revealed a deeply divided nation, with Erdoğan’s victory exacerbating tensions between political factions. As allegations of unfairness persist, the future of democracy in Turkey remains uncertain, prompting calls from the pro-Kurdish opposition and other parties to strengthen democratic politics and ensure the protection of citizens’ rights.