Turkey: 6.4 magnitude earthquake hits southern Hatay province
Recep Erdogan has comfortably won the Presidential election in Turkey against the odds and it has proven again that the politics of Brexit is a winning formula.
The traditional political rule is that there are only two messages which work in election campaigns – “stability” or “change”.
The idea is that depending on the state of the country, one or other of the competing narratives will trump the other depending on the economic and political circumstances.
In America both Trump and Obama were “change” candidates in 2008 and 2016 – which explains why – uncomfortably for the Democrats and left – so many of the same people voted for them.
In France, Emmanuel Macron has, despite inventing a new political party, been a “stability” candidate for the French establishment.
But in this Turkish Presidential election Erdogan has successfully been a “stability” candidate and has arguably confirmed the rule book has been rewritten.
When Express.co.uk spoke to senior sources from Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AK) ahead of the first round of the Presidential election they thought his chances were in the balance – and there was a good chance he would be defeated.
After around 20 years as Turkey’s President, including surviving an attempted military coup, it appeared that all the normal indicators for defeat were in place.
An appalling natural disaster with the earthquake which hit both Turkey and Syria had seen some cruiticism of his government but most importantly the economy was in a mess.
At one point Erdogan had even declared war officially on the international markets – if you remember Liz Truss in effect tried something similar and last 49 days.
More to the point the opposition for the first time in decades was united behind a main candidate Kemal Kılıcdaroglu and he was favoured to win – a similar tactic was tried and failed in the last Hungarian election against Viktor Orban’s ruling party.
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Indeed, the usual leftwing outlets such as the Guardian and BBC were already writing Erdogan’s political obituary – but once again they were wrong (again).
Similar claims have been made about other so-called strong men politicians like Viktor Orban in Hungary or Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel and have also proven to be wrong as voters at the ballot box supporteed them.
Erdogan was even hated by the left despite the fact he had a much more generous aproach to refugees. His main opponent wanted to send them all back to Syria.
So it was that two weeks ago on May 14 Erdogan all but sealed victory with 49.5 percent of the vote, 5 percent ahead of his chief rival.
Because he had not got more than 50 percent there was a run off yesterday but the result was not in doubt.
Far from being out on his ear, the 69-year-old Erdogan has five more years. But why?
When Express.co.uk spoke to a senior AK representative in London last week, a sort of unofficial ambassador for the party, his mood from a few weeks was definitely lifted and he was pleased that his President had been forced to go into a second round.
He said: “At least this kills off the claim that he [Erdogan] is a dictator. What dictator would allow an election to go into a second round?
“The accusation was always nonsense but now we can see he will be fairly elected.”
There are a number of reasons that Erdogan won but one of them is related to what helped Brexit win in the EU referendum back in 2016.
Erdogan’s critics, like Trump’s, Orban’s and Netanyahu’s hate the strong man image but also see him and those others as a threat to the globalist agenda.
They are invariably described as “nationalists” or “populists” when their opponents are being polite.
But one comment was true about Erdogan as it was about these other maligned figures.
“There is no doubt in people’s minds that he will put the interests of his country first.”
This was demonstated by the push to allow Finland and Sweden into NATO where Erdogan resisted giving his assent because they are harbouring what many in Turkey consider to be supporters of Kurdish terrorists.
In fact, Turkey still has not agreed to Sweden joining the defence bloc, much to everyone else’s chagrin.
The idea that a leader is on the side of his country’s interests and therefore its people is a powerful one.
It explains why Trump’s Make America Great Again message is seeing him emerge as the favourite to return to the White House and it is the same sentiment that drove both his victory and the “take back control” message of Brexit in 2016.
The real divide now is not left versus right, or change versus stability, it is between those who harken to global institutions and those who put their country first.
But this lesson seems to have been forgotten by the Tories.
Rishi Sunak’s government has taken the traditional route of the Conservative Party to favour the globalist approach.
This has ended up with a number of deals which the Brexiteers in his own party are furious about because they harm the interests of the UK.
That includes a Windsor Framework for Northern Ireland which gives the EU perpetual power over part of the UK that may stretch further into the rest of it.
There is the agreement on not lowering corporation tax below 15 percent.
Then there is the probability that the UK will cede power to the largely discredited World Health Organisation to control lockdowns and health policies in pandemics.
None of these things represent putting British interests first and all go against the ethos of Brexit.
Nobody is saying Sunak should turn himself into a strong man authoritarian – that definitely would not go down well in the UK.
But perhaps, for all his failings on the economy and policies, Erdogan’s victory should be a wake up call to Sunak and the Tories that what ensured Brexit won in 2016 could ensure them victory against Starmer next year.
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