International media praises AKP’s election victory but warns over increasing pressure
DHA PhotoInternational media have praised the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) success in local elections while cautioning that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan could increase pressure on the opposition and continue to stifle dissent, departing from democratic principles.
A piece by the New York Times editorial board wrote that Erdoğan obtained what he wanted from the elections but that his response, pledging to make sure his political enemies pay a price, was deeply disturbing and undemocratic. “This kind of response, especially in an electoral context, shows how far Mr. Erdoğan has departed from democratic principles that allow dissent,” it wrote.
Bloomberg’s editors said the result was undeniably impressive for Erdoğan but that Turkey was beginning to look like Russia under President Vladimir Putin, with all branches of power subordinated to a single man who sees opponents as traitors.
A piece in the Economist said Erdoğan’s increasingly authoritarian methods of stifling dissent may not cost him votes at home but had tarnished his image internationally. “Turkey’s Western friends are increasingly nervous about Mr. Erdoğan’s erratic ways,” it said.
The Financial Times said Erdoğan had won the battle against Gülenists, but not the war. “The unexpectedly strong election result means he now has to choose whether to run in the first direct elections for president in August, or to stand for a fourth term as premier.”
Wall Street Journal said the Turkish government’s decisive victory provided a brief respite to months of political and economic turbulence. “By securing the broadest support in municipal ballots since founding the AKP in 2001, Mr. Erdoğan has also set the stage for a possible run for president in August.”
A Washington Post piece wrote that Erdoğan could count on the loyalties of a core constituency of Turks, many of them from the working and lower middle class, who share his conservative inclinations and applaud the transformation he has brought to the once-dismal Turkish economy.
The Guardian said the outcome of elections will be seen by his opponents as a significant defeat for Turkish democracy and a worrying omen of a future of increasing authoritarianism. The piece said one of the early consequences is expected to be a decision by Erdoğan to either seek the presidency or to change AKP rules so he can continue in the more powerful post of prime minister for a fourth consecutive term.
Deutsche Welle said Erdoğan’s position had been strengthened after the elections while the opposition parties’ attempt in some regions to unite and stand up to the AKP never achieved liftoff.