Orkhan Sattarov, head of the European Bureau of Vestnik Kavkaza
The municipal elections in Turkey, which resulted in a firm victory for the ruling Party of Justice and Development (PJD) brought down to earth many analysts who predicted the imminent end of Erdogan’s era. The internal political scandals which seemed to shatter the power of the Islamists headed by the Prime Minister didn’t negatively influence his rating. “Show them a real Ottoman strike,” Erdogan addressed his supporters, urging them to vote for an independent Turkey, i.e. the PJD.
People listened to Erdogan, and the PJD received significant support – 48.5%, despite such unpopular measures as banning YouTube and Twitter. Obviously, social networks are not a priority for the majority of voters. The incredible voter turnout (90%) is a result of the great work conducted by the PJD. It managed to gather its supporters for a final victory. Erdogan’s victory speech confirms that the Turkish leader is ready to further struggle against his political opponents. In August Turkey will hold presidential elections. Many analysts think that their results are predetermined by the municipal elections just held. However, considering the Syrian conflict near the Turkish borders and the direct involvement of Turkey in it, the candidate from the PJD won’t win the elections easily.
The victory at the municipal elections confirmed the legitimacy of the PJD government and gave an advantage to the Premier in the further elimination of his opponents and supporters of the leader of the Hizmet religious organization, Fatullah Gulen. The PJD’s high rating is the basis of Erdogans independent policy in the international arena, including a dialogue with the EU and the USA. In Europe Erdogan is not a welcome guest; and authors of leading information agencies don’t hide their disappointment with the PJD’s victory at the municipal elections. The USA hasn’t congratulated Erdogan on the success, unlike Russia.
Vladimir Putin’s quick congratulation is meaningful: the Kremlin realizes that Erdogan’s firm victory makes him less vulnerable to Western pressure. A Turkey headed by strong Premier will have an opportunity to provide an independent policy, one of the priorities of which will be pragmatic cooperation with the Russian side.
Baku was satisfied with the news of Erdogan’s victory. Azerbaijan gave a high appraisal to the municipal elections held in Turkey. The deputy head of the Azerbaijani presidential administration, Novruz Mamedov, who was an observer, called the elections “superb.” President Ilham Aliyev called Erdogan on the phone the same day and congratulated him. Obviously Azerbaijan is ready to work with the Turkish government and appreciate the succession of the political course of its strategic ally.
Trusting relations between the Azerbaijani authorities and the current Turkish government have various aspects, along with the economy. For example, they guarantee that Turkey won’t undertake normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations without taking into consideration the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.