Turkey’s Autocratic President, Praised by Trump, Claims Election Victory

But the opposition is contesting the provisional results.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Donald Trump shake hands in September 2017 in New York.Shealah Craighead/Zuma

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.

Turkey’s autocratic president is claiming victory in the country’s contentious election on Sunday. Recep Tayyip Erdogan is up by more than 20 points, according to a state-run agency, with 97 percent of the vote counted, although the opposition claims that most ballot boxes have yet to be opened. Erdogan, who has been president since 2014 and Turkey’s de facto leader since 2002, has been widely accused of human rights abuses, but that hasn’t stopped President Donald Trump from praising him as a strong leader.

The Turkish leader has arrested tens of thousands of dissenters on questionable charges, targeted teachers, and jailed more journalists than any other leader in the world.

Last year, after Turkish voters approved a referendum to augment Erdogan’s powers that critics said would erode democratic norms in the country, Trump called the strongman to congratulate him on his victory. The following month, Erdogan came to Washington to talk terrorism with Trump, and Erdogan’s security detail attacked protesters at the Turkish embassy in DC.

A few months later, in September, the Turkish president attended a reception in his honor in New York City. His security detail once again clashed violently with protesters, this time in Times Square. Hours later, Trump heaped praise on Erdogan. “He’s running a very difficult part of the world,” Trump said. “He’s involved very, very strongly and, frankly, he’s getting very high marks.”

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you'll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate