Recep Tayyip Erdogan, renewed for five years at the head of Turkey, began his third term as president on Saturday by calling on his divided country “to make peace”. The 69-year-old head of state, twenty of whom are in power, re-elected on May 28 with 52% of the vote after an aggressive campaign and two rounds of voting, was sworn in before Parliament to the applause of his camp. – which holds the majority of the 600 seats, with its ultranationalist allies.
But it is a conciliatory head of state like never before who, from his gigantic presidential palace on an outlying hill in Ankara, asked his opponents to “find a way to make peace”.
“Reconcile with the national will”
“Let’s put aside the resentments and anger of this electoral period”, he launched in front of an audience of foreign heads of state and government, whom he greeted by name, one by one.
“We expect the opposition to act with a sense of responsibility for Turkey’s well-being and democracy,” he continued, before asking “the parties” but also “journalists, writers, to civil society, to artists (to) reconcile with the national will”. Not to mention the tens of thousands of representatives of all these categories who are behind bars.
The opposition deputies had also remained seated when the assembly rose after the oath and the speech of the Head of State, promising among other things “to assume his duty with impartiality”.
In torrential rain – a harbinger of abundance in Turkey – Erdogan went from Parliament to Atatürk’s mausoleum from where he briefly hailed “a new era”, pledging “to bring the victims of the earthquake home as soon as as possible “. At least 50,000 people died in the February 6 disaster that left millions homeless in the south of the country, 3 million of whom are displaced.
Then he returned to the sumptuous presidential palace that he had built and where he will give a gala dinner to his guests, including Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of NATO, installed in the first row.
The latter must try once again to lift the Turkish veto on Sweden’s entry into the Atlantic Alliance, barred for thirteen months, if possible before a summit of the Organization in Vilnius in July.
Despite a Constitution amended and a new law against terrorism, Ankara still accuses Sweden of sheltering Kurdish refugees whom it qualifies as “terrorists”.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian took his place alongside traditional allies of Turkey such as Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, the Prime Ministers of Hungary, Viktor Orban – who is also reluctant to open the doors of NATO to Sweden – and from Qatar, Mohammed ben Abderrahmane Al-Thani, who were among the first to congratulate him on his re-election.
L’Armenia and the Türkiye have never officially established diplomatic relations and their common border has been closed since the 1990s, but a rapprochement has been initiated since the beginning of 2022, despite Ankara’s displayed support for Baku on the Nargorny-Karabakh issue which opposes Yerevan to Azerbaijan.
Also noteworthy is the presence of the Venezuelan Head of State Nicolas Maduro and that of many African Heads of State – Congo, Rwanda, SomaliaSouth Africa, Algeria – testifying to Ankara’s active diplomacy on the continent.
To all, he promised “more initiatives to bring a solution to global crises”: since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ankara has managed to maintain relations with the two capitals – without sanctioning Moscow – and regularly offers its mediation.
The expected new government
Erdogan was to announce in the evening the composition of his new government which will give an idea of the orientations adopted to restore the economy in crisis. For this arduous task, the name of a recognized expert, Mehmet Simsek, has been circulating insistently for several days.
Former Minister of Finance (2009-2015) then Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the Economy (until 2018), Simsek, 56, a former economist at the American bank Merrill Lynch, would be responsible for restoring a little orthodoxy in order to to restore investor confidence.
In addition to inflation at more than 40% – 73% for the year 2022 – the national currency is in free fall to more than 20.95 Turkish liras for a dollar Saturday, despite the billions of dollars swallowed up during the campaign to delay the sinking.
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