On Sunday, as Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed victory in Turkey’s presidential election, former president and likely 2024 GOP contender Donald Trump congratulated him.
In a runoff election, Erdogan, who has been in power since 2002, defeated Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who had gotten 47.9 percent of the vote but lost to Erdogan with 52.1 percent. Kilicdaroglu called it “the most unfair election in years,” but he did not protest the outcome.
Kilicdaroglu said Erdogan’s political party had used all the state’s resources against him.
On Monday, international observers concluded that media bias and restrictions on freedom of expression had contributed to an unfair advantage that skewed the playing field for Mr. Erdogan in the second round of voting, which took place on 14 May.
Preliminary unofficial tallies put President Erdogan’s final vote total at slightly over 52%. Nearly half of the voters in this sharply divided country rejected his dictatorial agenda for Turkey.
Even while Mr. Kilicdaroglu forced the president into a run-off second round for the first time since the office was established directly elected in 2014, he was no match for the well-drilled Erdogan campaign.
But he was still over two million votes behind his opponent after the first round.
In the wake of his triumph, the president addressed his followers from atop a bus in Istanbul and then later from the balcony of his palace to a crowd of 320,000 people who had gathered to celebrate with him.
His followers in Ankara chanted “Bye, bye, Kemal” as he mocked his opponent’s loss.
Mr. Erdogan ridiculed the major opposition party’s success in the parliamentary election two weeks earlier, in which the party gained seats. He said the actual figure was 129 since the party had given away many seats to its friends.
He argued that the pro-LGBT policies of the opposition alliance were at odds with his own family-oriented platform.