“Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan Secures Third Term as President: Balancing Between West and East for Regional Strength”

2023-05-30 04:23:00

ANKARA, May 30 (Xinhua) — Incumbent Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has secured a third term after winning the second round of the presidential election held on Sunday. Experts believe that this veteran politician should maintain a balance between West and East in order to continue to position Turkey as a regional heavyweight.

In Sunday’s poll, Erdogan won 52.14% of the vote. His rival, Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, won 47.86%, said the chairman of Turkey’s Supreme Electoral Council, Ahmet Yener. This victory allows Mr. Erdogan to stay in power for another five years.

For a long time, to enhance Turkey’s strategic importance, the Turkish leader has attached importance to the country’s NATO membership on the one hand, and has engaged in a delicate exercise of balancing the West and East, on the other.

When he unveiled his electoral program in Ankara last April, Mr. Erdogan hinted that his country would continue to play an active role in regional affairs.

“We will build Turkey’s axis with a foreign policy where our country, our region and humanity will find peace and stability, multilateralism, more cooperation, peace, stability and humanitarian diplomacy,” he said. he declared.

Ankara-based independent political risk analyst Batu Coskun said Erdogan was unlikely to change course, adding that a major task for the country would be to reconcile with former enemies.

“When it comes to foreign policy, I don’t expect a big change from the previous foreign policy, before the start of the election cycle,” he told Xinhua in a recent interview. One of the priorities of Turkish diplomacy is to encourage reconciliation with Syria, he said.

Signs of a thaw in Turkish-Syrian relations were seen last year during meetings between Turkish, Syrian and Russian ministers and officials in Moscow.

In recent years, Turkey has reestablished ties with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates after difficult regional isolation. Egypt is the next country targeted by Turkey’s efforts, according to Batu Coskun.

“In a multipolar world, Turkey is striving to be autonomous from the Western bloc, pursuing an independent foreign policy,” a source close to the Turkish government told Xinhua, assuring that Turkey “will continue to engage in proactive diplomacy”.

With regard to Russia, analysts believe that Ankara will continue to maintain close political and financial relations with Moscow, despite criticism from its Western allies.

“Turkey’s position on Russia is unlikely to change. Turkey will continue to have relations with Moscow and (President Vladimir) Putin both financially, politically and strategically,” Coskun noted.

This balance earned Turkey a reputation during the Ukraine crisis. Ankara did not join the Western sanctions campaign against Russia, but mediated between the sides, facilitating prisoner swaps, the Black Sea Grain Initiative and early peace talks. .

Kerim Has, a Russian and Eurasian affairs specialist based in Moscow, agrees. “Turkey, under Mr. Erdogan’s administration, will deepen and broaden its relations with Russia in the trade, economic, financial and energy fields.”

Regarding relations with the United States, Mr. Erdogan expressed in an interview with the media his willingness to cooperate with US President Joe Biden and his administration.

Ties between Ankara and Washington have become strained over their political differences over Syria, Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey has also been sanctioned by the United States for buying Russian S-400 missiles, being excluded from the F-35 stealth aircraft program.

According to Mr. Coskun, there is little room for an improvement in relations between Turkey and the United States. “I don’t necessarily expect further friction (with the US), but I don’t expect engagement or detente either. The Biden administration seems to be quite distant from Turkey.” END

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