Movin’ on up: Erdogan wins Turkey’s first direct presidential election; plans to beef up office

Movin’ on up: Erdogan wins Turkey’s first direct presidential election; plans to beef up office

An announcement on the Twitter account of Turkey’s Justice minister Bekir Bozdagread, “The chairman of the AK Party and the prime minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has become the first president elected by the people.”

Turkish television claims the Islamist Prime Minister was leading several opposition candidates with more than 52% of the vote, more than twelve points in front of his main opponent, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu.

Turnout, however, in this widely watched poll was far lower than had been hoped by Erdogan and predicted by the Turkish establishment.

Interest in Sunday’s election was huge due to Erdogan’s campaign to turn the largely ceremonial office into the seat of primary national power. Not only was Erdogan widely expected to win, it had become an accepted article of faith in Turkey that even if Erdogan didn’t win, his autocratic instincts would still somehow find him ensconced in the Presidential palace from where people seemed just as confident he would find a way to increase his control over the rapidly Islamizing nation of 90 million. …

Erdogan’s attempt to strengthen his control over Turkish national life, this time as Turkey’s president, has compelled many to compare Erdogan’s quest to that of the man leading Turkey’s menacing northern neighbor, Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. Like Putin, Erdogan seeks to control Turkey’s politics as both Prime Minister and now as President. …

Erdogan’s campaign theme was “Allah is Enough for Us, Turkey is Enough for Us.”

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