Autocrats around the world congratulated Recep Erdogan on his victory in Sunday’s Turkish presidential election, despite independent observers indicating that the vote was flawed.
According to preliminary results, Erdogan won around 53 percent support compared to the 31 percent by opposition candidate Muharrem Ince. Opposition candidates and independent observers reported allegations of vote rigging and ballot manipulation.
During his presidential campaign, Erdogan sought approval to implement a number of controversial reforms that will give him the power to dissolve parliament, issue executive decrees and declare a national state of emergency. The reforms also provide him with additional powers to appoint people into senior government positions and interfere in the judiciary. As a result, many opponents now fear the country will turn into a dictatorship where Erdogan rules by decree.
On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke of Erdogan’s “great political authority and mass support” that he said would help “solve Turkey’s pressing social and economic tasks (and) strengthen the country’s position on the international arena.”
Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro, with whom Turkey shares warm diplomatic relations, congratulated him on an “amazing victory.” Last December, Erdogan invited Maduro to an anti-Israel meeting with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Turkey.
“I congratulate the brother and friend of Venezuela, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for his amazing victory in the elections in the Republic of Turkey,” Maduro wrote on Twitter. “From Caracas, we send him a Bolivarian hug and our firm commitment to continue improving relations of solidarity and cooperation.”
I congratulate the brother and friend of Venezuela, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for his huge victory in the elections in the Republic of Turkey. From Caracas I send you a Bolivarian hug and our firm commitment to continue deepening our ties of solidarity […] https://t.co/8ZfuTEsh22
— Nicolás Maduro (@maduro_en) June 25, 2018
Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani also sent a message expressing his “joy and happiness on your victory and renewed confidence in the presidential election,” adding that he prays for the prosperity of the Turkish people.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas wished Turkey “more success, progress, and stability” while congratulating Erdoğan on “the success of the Turkish democratic process and his victory in the presidential elections.”
In response, Erdoğan stressed Turkey’s “continued support” for the Palestinian’s “just cause” and affirmed their “right to freedom and stability.”
Other regional leaders to congratulate him on his victory include Azerbaijan’s Haydar Aliyev, the Amir of Qatar Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
In Germany, which has an estimated Turkish population of four million people (two-thirds of whom voted for Erdogan), the government expressed support for cooperation with Erdogan despite concern over what the election could mean for relations with Turkey and the millions of migrants located in Turkish refugee camps.
“We are looking forward to continuing a constructive, beneficial working relationship between German and Turkish governments,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said at a news conference in Berlin.
In his victory speech on Sunday, Erdogan pledged to “rapidly” implement his new reforms.
“We have received the message that has been given to us in the ballot boxes,” he said from a balcony of the AKP party’s headquarters in Ankara. “We will fight even more with the strength you provided us with this election.”
“Our people have given us the job of carrying out the presidential and executive posts,” he continued. “I hope nobody will damage democracy by casting a shadow on this election and its results to hide their failure.”