A spokesperson for Turkish President Recep Erdogan told Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) to “shut up” on Tuesday after he urged people not to congratulate the Turkish strongman on his controversial election victory on Sunday.
“Erdogan ‘won’ reelection in Turkey this weekend only by decimating the opposition through arrests, violence and squashing freedom of the press,” Schiff wrote on Twitter. “Turkey’s descent into autocracy is another reminder that democracy is under assault worldwide. DO NOT CONGRATULATE.”
Erdogan “won” reelection in Turkey this weekend only by decimating the opposition through arrests, violence and squashing freedom of the press.
Turkey's descent into autocracy is another reminder that democracy is under assault worldwide.
DO NOT CONGRATULATE.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) June 26, 2018
“President Erdoğan certainly does not need YOUR @RepAdamSchiff congratulations. Turkish people have spoken up. You need to shut up,” Erdogan spokesperson İbrahim Kalın responded.
— Ibrahim Kalin (@ikalin1) June 26, 2018
The dispute comes after Erdogan declared victory in the Turkish presidential election on Sunday, garnering around 53 percent support compared to the 31 percent by opposition candidate Muharrem Ince.
Some derided the election as flawed after independent observers reported evidence of vote rigging and ballot manipulation. There were also repeated cases of intimidation against opposition campaigners, mainly in the form of “interventions,” stopping them from holding rallies, handing out flyers, and other campaign activities.
Many Turks now fear that the country’s tradition of democracy and secularism are over, with Erdogan set to implement sweeping constitutional reforms that will give him additional powers including the rights to dissolve parliament, issue executive decrees, and declare national states of emergency. He will also have the right to appoint individuals into high-level government positions and senior roles within the judiciary.
He is also known for many of his hardline Islamic stances, having previously spoken of his vision of Islamic education within Turkish schools, as he aims to oversee a “pious generation” that “will work for the construction of a new civilization.”
Erdogan received congratulatory messages from a number of authoritarian leaders around the world, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro, and Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani.
In his victory speech on Sunday, Erdogan asserted that his government would “rush” to deliver on his campaign promises.
“The winners of the June 24 elections are Turkey, the Turkish nation, the sufferers of our region and all oppressed in the world,” he declared. “In this term, we will be before our nation and make up for our shortcomings. Starting from tomorrow, we will be in a rush trying to deliver on promises that we have made to our nation.”
“Turkey has decided to take the side of growth, development, investment, enrichment and a reputable, honorable and influential country in all areas in the world,” he added.