Turkey resumes arrests of suspected Gulen supporters hours after election

As President Recep Tayyip Erdogan leads the polls with more than 97 percent of the votes counted in Turkey's presidential election, his supporters celebrate in front of AK Party headquarters in the capital Ankara.

Now that Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been re-elected as President of Turkey, is the nation headed for "one-man rule", as opposition candidate Muharrem Ince warned and worldwide headlines suggest?

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won another election in his country. The 30 percent he won even according to the opposition-run Fair Election Platform wasn't, however, enough to keep Erdogan from claiming a majority.

With nearly 97 percent of the parliamentary votes counted, the AK Party's People's Alliance was ahead with 53.6 percent of the votes and the Nation's Alliance was in second place with 34.2 percent of the votes.

Turkey's main opposition candidate has conceded defeat in Sunday's presidential and parliamentary elections, calling on the victor, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to end his divisive policies. "[The] Turkish economy is still under major pressure due to political risk, private sector [indebtedness] and decreasing global competitiveness".

Celebrations centered on Chaussee de Haecht Street, known as a Turkish district in the Belgian capital. Turkey would have held a run-off election on July 8 if no one received 50 percent of the votes. Polling stations closed at 5 p.m. and people anxiously refreshed their phones and found TVs to watch the incoming totals.

"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.

Some 59 million of voters will cast their vote on Sunday in over 180,000 ballot boxes across the country. A case in point is Fethullah Gulen, an erstwhile Erdogan ally who became an enemy when he tried to overpower Erdogan in Turkish politics, requesting in 2011 that Erdogan appoint one of his followers to head Turkey's intelligence organization.

Erdogan has also gained sweeping executive powers under a new constitution backed by a narrow majority of voters in a 2017 referendum that took effect after Sunday's elections.

High security is in place across the country, with 38,480 police officers on duty in Istanbul alone.

The Cabinet composition, when it is finalized, is likely to show a change of image on the AKP side, which is aware of its under-performance in the parliamentary polls where it failed to get the simple majority in the Parliament, taking only 43 percent.

In their statement, Mogherini and Hahn said Turkey "would benefit from urgently addressing key shortcomings regarding the rule of law and fundamental rights" and warned the new presidential system has "far reaching implications for Turkish democracy". It will have to depend on its alliance with the small Nationalist Movement Party. Selahattin Demirtas may have been permitted to stand for election, but he was unable to appear in public, having been in prison since November 2016, accused of membership of the PKK. Considering how much the AKP has invested in deepening Turkey's relations with the GCC states, and the importance of these trade and investment ties, a more balanced approach should be in order.

The economic conundrum faced by Turkey can be summarized by a plummeting currency, double-digit inflation, alienated foreign investors and domestic capital flight, risings levels of foreign debt, and the urgent need to create jobs in a situation that demands at least a moderate degree of austerity.

But he reckoned without Muharrem Ince, the presidential candidate of the secularist Republican People's Party (CHP), whose feisty performance at campaign rallies has galvanized Turkey's long-demoralized and divided opposition.

  • Zachary Reyes