The Turkish election result could send a message to the world

The Turkish election result could send a message to the world
By Euronews
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Ece Temelkuran, Turkey's "most-read political columnist", says the election is sending an important message to the EU and the rest of the world.


81 million Turkish citizens have voted in parliamentary and presidential elections. State media say with 53% of 99% of the votes counted, incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AK Party have won an outright and decisive victory.

Ece Temelkuran, an author who is also known as Turkey's "most-read political columnist", has told Euronews that, with this election, Turkey is sending an important message to the EU and the rest of the world.

"I think they are sending a message that they are going to defend democracy and they are eager to stay a western-oriented country and they are dedicated to a pluralistic society and that should be taken seriously by the European Union. As you might also remember, Mr Erdogan has been supported by western countries especially during his first term in power starting from 2002 and I guess that many people in Turkey would agree with me in the idea that now the opposition should be supported, at least morally, by the European Union and democratic powers in European countries.

'Hopelessness and disappointment'

"It (the opposition) created an incredible amount of enthusiasm for all those people who were against the one-man regime. It was totally unprecedented for all the factions on the political spectrum to come together against Mr Erdogan, Mr President, not personally against him but against the regime that he has built during the last 15, 16 years, so that was the thing, I guess, that made critical people in Turkey believe in this election. However, there is an air of hopelessness and disappointment so strong that you can touch it with your hands, I guess it will take time for people to recover from that disappointment, that frustration, to back to their opposition, political actions and work. What we have been complaining about and what we have been frustrated by is the unpredictability of everything, not only of international politics but also in domestic politics. It is not a surprise, of course, when the destiny of a country is in the hands of one man and this man, Mr President Erdogan, is not known for his thick skin, so he is a tempered man and he is acting on his own terms therefore it is quite unpredictable but it is interesting to remember that the election promise of Erdogan was 'more justice, more freedom'"

"If I were to speak to officials in Brussels, a few years back I would have said to them 'where were you, where were you?' referring to the early years, but now I think I would tell them that this is a global pattern, rising populism is a global pattern and people in Europe have just begun to experience how maddening it is, so imagine us, 16 years, trying to survive in these conditions. So I think Turkish people should be respected for their determination to respect their democracy and their freedoms and their dignity in fact, because it is a political and social process that strips a nation of its dignity so I think people in Turkey, those who are not supporting Erdogan, need to be recognised for this amazing effort of theirs to protect the country and democracy."

"It is a global pattern, a global issue right now, rising populism, and all the other pathologies that it brings together so it should be dealt globally as well. We certainly, and very urgently, need a global conversation about this. I think it is not the time to be shocked or to be desperate about this in the face of this rising populism, we should gather ourselves and use our heads to get over this, it is not an easy job and we all need each other."

"Well, I have this sentence that I keep repeating and it became a popular sentence in Turkey for obvious reasons: "I don't believe in hope, I believe in determination" because it is easy to take hope away but you cannot take the determination of a person easily , so I do believe in determination, I guess."

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