Recep Tayyip Erdogan may have serenaded his supporters with off-key singing after his victory, but when it comes to fighting elections, he is flawless.
He had a greater understanding of the electorate than the pollsters and analysts who predicted his defeat by the opposition. Not at this point, no.
His opponent, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, trailed him by only four percentage points. Undoubtedly, President Erdogan will consider this as he begins his third tenure in office.
This strategic NATO nation has chosen its path, with the majority of electors choosing Mr. Kilicdaroglu, a seasoned autocrat, over an untested Democratic candidate.
The opposition leader ran as Mr. Nice Guy and initially promised a new spring for Turkey during his campaign. Later, he veered to the right and vowed to send all refugees home. This earned him some additional support among nationalists, but not enough.
Mr. Erdogan, the Islamist leader of Turkey, has a relationship with his adherents that dates back twenty years. Many share his religious conservatism. They have supported him through thick and thin – and hyperinflation – granting him an additional five years of service.
The streets of Ankara’s capital were a kaleidoscope of Turkish flags, blaring vehicle horns, and cheering Erdogan supporters as the run-off result was announced.
With over a thousand chambers, his custom-built presidential palace attracted a large number of visitors. His rival had vowed to make it available to the public.
“It is a blessing that our president is once again leading us,” said a 50-year-old woman wearing a hijab and a broad smile. “There is no deeper emotion than this. Let the entire universe know. He is the leader who challenged the entire world and taught it a lesson.”
This is central to his argument: Mr. Erdogan is a firm leader, a Sultan of the modern era who does not kowtow.
The message of the election is that many people here favor a tough individual over a pleasant one.
He is now newly confident. The opposition is severely wounded, and the Kremlin is jubilant.
President Vladimir Putin desired this outcome, so it is not surprising that he was among the first to congratulate the Turkish leader. Mr. Putin did everything he could to gain an advantage, including delaying a $600 million (£486 million) payment for Russian natural gas.
Mr. Erdogan entered the election with street smarts, common touch, and control over 90% of the media here.
In his victory speech, he claimed that “only Turkey was victorious,” but he wasted no time in assaulting the opposition and the LGBTQ community.
Human rights and free speech may be targeted more and undermined in the future. There are few checks and balances in Turkey, and the leader with the longest tenure is not known for restraint.
Almost 48 percent of electors who desired change will be disappointed and possibly fearful.
In October, this secular nation will commemorate its centenary with more religion and less freedom.
Currently, Turkey is a divided nation with a shattered economy. According to critics, the president has no solution for either issue.
How does the election outcome affect Turkey’s neighbors and NATO allies? They will be vigilant, as they are aware that President Erdogan frequently appears to enjoy disrupting the established international order.