30 May 2023
Statement on the run–off election in Turkey
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was declared the winner of the run–off election, which was neither free nor fair. He won by a narrow margin. His challenger Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu achieved very high vote shares especially in the Kurdish provinces, despite the deep nationalist tones. The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and The Green Left Party (YSP) had called for his election in order to pave a way out of autocracy.
European heads of state and government did not wait to congratulate Turkey and to express their hope for good cooperation, as did Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. The restraint in the run–up to the elections already indicated that people were prepared for Erdoğan to carry on as usual.
What the country’s politics will look like in the future was hinted at in Erdoğan’s speech after the election. “It is not possible for him [Selahattin Demirtaş] to get out of prison under our rule.” He will not care about European court rulings in the future either. He will also make the refugee agreement paid even better. The entire Middle East will continue to be marked by instability. An end to the expansive foreign policy is not in sight.
A clear stance is needed from Europe and its institutions for the opposition, which has fought for change despite the strongest repression. Turkey’s policy under Erdoğan must not remain without consequences. If judgments of the European Court of Human Rights continue to be disregarded, the Council of Europe must take the necessary measures for violation of the convention.
Prof. Dr. Kariane Westrheim
EUTCC Board member