Published in The News, on June 3rd, 2023, By Web Desk
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also attended President Erdogan’s oath-taking ceremony on special invitation from the Turkish government
Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan was on Saturday sworn in for a third term as president, promising to serve “impartially” after winning a historic runoff election.
“As president, I swear upon my honor and integrity, before the great Turkish nation … to work with all my power to protect the existence and independence of the state … and to fulfill my duty impartially,” Erdogan said.
The inauguration in parliament was followed by a lavish ceremony at his palace in the capital Ankara attended by dozens of world leaders.
Turkey’s transformative but divisive leader won the May 28 runoff against a powerful opposition coalition, despite an economic crisis and anger over a February earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people.
Erdogan won 52.18% of the vote while his secular rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu scored 47.82%, official results show.
Turkeyss longest-serving leader faces significant immediate challenges in his third term, including the slowing economy and tensions with the West.
“From a geopolitical point of view, the election will reinforce Turkey’s recent pursuit of an independent foreign policy,” said Matt Gertken, chief geopolitical strategist at BCA Research.
“This policy aims to extract maximum economic and strategic benefits from eastern and autocratic states while still preventing a permanent rupture in relations with western democracies,” he said.
“Tensions with the West will likely increase again,” Gertken added.
Many world leaders, including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus President Ersin Tatar, Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro, and Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani are in Ankara to attend the inauguration ceremony of President Erdogan, according to state media TRT World.
Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, Iran’s vice president Mohammad Mokhber, Hungary’s right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban and the speaker of the lower house of Russia’s parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, are among the foreign guests expected at the inauguration.
Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan will also be present, his office said, the latest sign of a thaw between the two arch-foes.
Addressing the country’s economic troubles will be Erdogan’s first priority, with inflation running at 43.70%, partly due to his unorthodox policy of cutting interest rates to stimulate growth.
The president is due to unveil his new cabinet on Saturday, with media speculating that former finance minister Mehmet Simsek, a reassuring figure with international stature, could return.
A former Merrill Lynch economist, Simsek is known to oppose Erdogan´s unconventional policies.
He served as finance minister between 2009 and 2015 and deputy prime minister in charge of the economy until 2018, before stepping down ahead of a series of lira crashes that year.
“Erdogan’s government looks like it will pursue an orthodox stabilisation rogramme,” said Alp Erinc Yeldan, professor of economics at Istanbul’s Kadir Has University.
“What we see now is that the news about Mehmet Simsek and his team is greeted with enthusiasm by the markets,” he told AFP.
Turkey’s new members of parliament were sworn in on Friday in its first session after the May 14 election, with Erdogan’s alliance holding a majority in the 600-seat house.
Kilicdaroglu’s future as leader of the CHP party remains in doubt following his defeat to Erdogan.
NATO allies are anxiously waiting for Ankara to green-light Sweden´s drive to join the US-led defence alliance, before a summit in July.
Erdogan has delayed approving the application, accusing Stockholm of sheltering “terrorists” from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers´ Party (PKK) which is listed as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg will attend Erdogan’s inauguration and hold talks with him, the alliance said Friday.
Sweden’s foreign minister, Tobias Billstrom, said on Twitter that “a clear message” had emerged at a NATO meeting in Oslo for Turkey and Hungary to start the ratification process.
His Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu responded on Twitter: “A crystal clear message to our Swedish friends! Fulfil your commitments (and) take concrete steps in the fight against terrorism.
“The rest will follow.”