Norms and Values
Turkey’s Election Results as a Triumph of Multipolarity
Valdai Club Conference Hall, Tsvetnoy Boulevard 16/1, Moscow, Russia
List of speakers

On May 30, the Valdai Club hosted an expert discussion on the results of the presidential elections in Turkey that ended on May 28. Oleg Barabanov, Programme Director of the Club, acted as a moderator.

“It is very important that the electoral process went on as a whole on a regular basis, without any special problems, conflicts, incidents, protests, complaints, and so on,” said Alexei Yerkhov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Turkey, emphasising that even the West did not put forward serious claims that make it possible to doubt the legitimacy of the Turkish elections, and is unlikely to put them forward. The diplomat additionally pointed to the competent and professionally correct work of the Turkish media and the exceptionally clear work of the election commissions. Addressing the consequences of the elections, he noted that in the structures of the legislative and executive power of Turkey, there will most likely be a rotation, and many new faces will appear. “Then, I am sure, work will continue on the further development of mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation. We have many projects, ideas, and plans,” he concluded.

Hasan Ünal, a professor at the Turkish University of Maltepe, called the election results in Turkey a triumph of multipolarity over unipolarity. According to him, those who wanted to keep Turkey within the framework of a unipolar world, on the side of the collective West, had lost. “President Erdogan came to power as a darling of the European Union and the West, but after a while he completely distanced himself from this foreign policy, going towards rapprochement with Russia,” Unal explained. He considers the current foreign policy course to be in the interests of Turkey and its people, since the pro-Western vector preferred by the opposition and attempts to join the EU would mean serious strategic concessions, including possibly implementing anti-Russian sanctions, which would have devastating consequences for the Turkish economy.

Pavel Shlykov, Associate Professor at the Department of History of the Countries of the Near and Middle East at ISAA Moscow State University and RIAC expert, believes that big changes await the Turkish authorities. Among the key tasks that Erdogan will face in domestic politics, he noted the restoration of the country after the earthquake, the withdrawal of Turkey from the economic crisis, the solution of the refugee problem and an increase in the rating of the Justice and Development Party. In foreign policy, the old trends will continue: the restoration of relations with the UAE and the Gulf countries, the search for a compromise with Greece and Egypt, as well as ways of reconciliation with Syria. Discussing the future of Russian-Turkish relations, Shlykov pointed out that although our points of view do not always coincide, Turkey and Russia are able to create a mode of dialogue.

Hasan Selim Özertem, an Ankara-based political analyst, believes that political stability awaits Turkey in the next five years, and the economy will become a priority for the government in the near future. Foreign policy, in his opinion, will be multi-vector and autonomous. In particular, he expects a reset in relations between Turkey and the United States in light of the upcoming US elections and strengthening economic relations with the countries of Central Asia. As for Russia, it will continue to be regarded as one of Turkey's main partners, Özertem is convinced.