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  • Salomé Bonneyrat

Erdogan re-elected, and what now?

In the last election in Turkey, the former president and candidate Recep Tayyip Erdogan was re-elected for a third time. In this race for presidency, Mr. Erdogan has been challenged during the campaigning process by new candidate Kemal Kiliçdaroglu. This has increased the cleavages that already existed inside the Turkish population, between supporters of Erdogan’s politics, the ones in favor of a stronger alliance with Moscow and the ones for a more open, peaceful and diplomatic discussion with the West . After the results were given in the evening of the 28th of May, Mr. Erdogan gave a victory speech, where he tried to unify Turkey by saying: “Today, nobody has lost, 85 million have won as a whole”. The elected candidate, then followed by a short highlight on the recent events that turned the country upside down by a new opposition to the incumbent president in the race for presidency, Kemal Kiliçdaroglu. Which has increased the cleavages that already existed inside the Turkish population. He finally called to “leave all the discussions and debates from the election campaigning process”.

But, what does the re-election of Recep Tayyip Erdogan mean for the international political chessboard? Does the West have to worry, who will benefit from Mr. Erdogan’s re-election, and what will be the consequences for the divided Turkey?

A relationship always more precarious with the West:

One of the winners from the result of the election is the Kremlin. The president of the Russian federation, Vladimir Putin was fast and among the first one to celebrate Mr. Erdogan’s victory, even before the publication of the official results. Indeed, Ankara is one of the strong allies of the Kremlin in Europe. If NATO commands economic and energetic sanctions towards Russia, Turkey refuses to ostracize Russia. The start of the war in Ukraine more than one year ago, did not stop trades from occurring between the two states, and even increased militaristically, economically and energetically speaking. Nevertheless, along with doing deals with Moscow, Ankara still maintains military aid to Ukraine and recently approved Finland to join NATO. However, the adhesion of Sweden to NATO is still an issue since the only reluctant members at this point remain Turkey and Hungary.

One of the problems the European Union faces with Turkey, is the management of the asylum seekers arriving in Turkey. The European Union already tried to solve the problem, by making a deal with the Erdogan government. Where, in exchange of accepting the asylum seekers arriving on Turkish soil along with stopping the dangerous traffic of boats across the Mediterranean sea. Turkey was receiving E.U and NGO’s investment to support the adaptation of the new arrivants in the Turkish society. Nevertheless the deal has been broken, and still many migrants attempt the perilous journey of crossing the Mediterranean sea on boats unfit for such conditions. Leading many boats to sink and causing the death of too many migrants in search for a better life on the other side of the ocean.

Migration is not the only issue that Ankara has in the Mediterranean sea. The division of Cyprus which started nearly 50 years ago continues to be a source of tension between Greece and Turkey. The debate did not see an end when Mr. Erdogan called for a “2 states solution” where the first portion would belong to Athen and the second one, to Ankara.

Therefore, the tension with the West after the re-election of Mr. Erdogan will remain tumultuous for many reasons, the strong alliance with the Kremlin, the debates around the adhesion of Sweden to Nato, the asylum seekers on the Turkish territory and the distribution of Cyprus island.

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