(JNS.org) Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has recently said that Israel’s actions in Gaza have "surpassed Hitler in barbarism,” has been elected as the country’s president with just under 52 percent of the vote Sunday, according to a preliminary count of the ballots. The election makes Erdogan the first directly elected president in the history of the country.
“Without a doubt, new Turkey, great Turkey, leading Turkey has won today. We are closing the doors on one era, and we are now taking our first step to a new phase," Erdogan said. Erdogan’s reelection is his ninth consecutive election victory, including in referendums and municipal polls, reported the Wall Street Journal.
However, critics of Erdogan maintain that his authoritarian leadership is not beneficial, and that he is trying to Islamize the traditionally more secular Middle-Eastern country. The role of president remains a ceremonial position in the country. However, “few doubt that he will continue to have the final say over every major policy decision, implemented through an obedient prime minister which he is set to appoint,” reported Haaretz.
"Erdogan did not win a victory today, he moved to [the presidential palace of] Cankaya through chicanery, cheating, deception and trickery," said Devlet Bahceli, head of the Nationalist Action Party which backed Erdogan's main rival, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, reported Israel Hayom. "This person is too questionable and dubious to be seen as president," he said.