“Congratulations to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his big and well-deserved victory in Turkey,” the former president wrote on Truth Social. “I know him well, he is a friend, and have learned firsthand how much he loves his Country and the great people of Turkey, which he has lifted to a new level of prominence and respect!”
Erdogan won a runoff over Kemal Kilicdaroglu, extending “his increasingly authoritarian rule into a third decade as the country reels from high inflation and the aftermath of an earthquake that leveled entire cities,” The Associated Press wrote.
Before the election, Ersin Kalaycioglu, a professor of political science at Istanbul’s Sabanci University, told The New York Times voters faced a choice of “going down the road to authoritarianism or switching track and going back to democracy.”
Erdogan has squeezed Turkey’s media freedom and political expression by penalizing and investigating journalists who criticize his policies, HuffPost previously reported. In one instance, Turkey’s media regulator fined broadcasters who questioned the Turkish leader’s response to a recent earthquake that killed tens of thousands.
Trump, who is now the leading Republican candidate for 2024, once praised Erdogan as a “hell of a leader.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin shared Trump’s enthusiasm, calling Erdogan’s victory on Sunday “a natural result of your selfless work as the head of the Republic of Turkey,” Mediaite noted.
President Joe Biden, meanwhile, took a more muted approach: “I look forward to continuing to work together as NATO Allies on bilateral issues and shared global challenges,” he said, per Reuters.