They probably wanted him dead in the coup against him. They certainly wanted him to be defeated in the runoff election and forgotten in the dustbins of history.
In both cases, his opponents failed. And now, the 69-year-old Erdogan looks set to be a ‘president for life’, more powerful than any Turkish leader ever, perhaps even more powerful than Kemal Atatürk. He is more confident, more able to implement his vision unhindered, inside and outside Turkey.
Erdogan, logically, should not have been re-elected to the presidency after 20 years of leadership and with such a large number of serious problems to contend with: Inflation exceeding 100%; an earthquake with tens of thousands dead; a mysterious illness that forced him to abandon the campaign for days. And, for the first time, he had all parties united against him.
Nevertheless, he received 52.13% of the vote in comparison to his opponent’s 47.87%.
And thus he is now ranked, as the Wall Street Journal writes, as one of the longest-serving leaders in recent political history, adding that, “now, as Erdogan begins his third decade of rule, the world will have to contend with an unpredictable figure who, after surviving a coup attempt and multiple crises at home, has grown comfortable extracting concessions from allies and adversaries alike as he pivots to securing his own legacy.”
The son of a Black Sea ferry captain really has become the new Sultan!
It is therefore important for us to know that Erdogan’s triumph was based less on his successes in domestic politics and more on a mixture of Islamism and nationalism – neither element a positive thing for the future of the Ecumenical Patriarchate – that he cultivated in the hearts and minds of millions of Turks, especially in the hinterland. It is a dynamite mixture inside his country and abroad.
To at least maintain their support, he will have to continue his anti-Western rhetoric against the United States, NATO, and Greece.
And, in any case, he is so powerful that he will have no one to answer to for his actions.
This is also how the situation in Greece is unfolding with Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who will emerge, as is being predicted, after the June 25 elections as a powerful prime minister, the likes of which Greece has not had for decades.
Thus we have two experienced, powerful leaders in Greece and Turkey – who know each other, who have come close to war but have avoided it.
This situation can be a historic opportunity for the two countries if they attempt to solve some of the problems that divide them, thus contributing to the peaceful coexistence and prosperity of their peoples.