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Erdogan May Reach Out to US After Major Election Rebuke

Erdogan May Reach Out to US After Major Election Rebuke
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Tuesday, 02 April 2019 06:32 AM Current | Bio | Archive

It’s unusual when elections for mayor and city council make international headlines and top the television news.  But that was the case Monday, after Turkish voters sent a shocking rebuke to strongman President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkish sources who spoke to Newsmax agreed that Erdogan — who has been in power more than 16 years as prime minister and then president and who thwarted a military coup in 2016 — might now deal with the U.S. in an attempt to reverse his nation's economic downward course.

“In order to reduce the pressure [from the economy], Erdogan might seek compromise with the U.S. and the West in general,” Cansu Camlibel, former Washington, D.C., bureau chief of the venerable Turkish publication Hurriyet told Newsmax.

Camlibel pointed out that Erdogan “has proven for the last 20 years that he has all the stamina and the skillset to survive the tides and he knows he needs alliances in difficult times like this one.”

Over the past two years, the relationship between Erdogan and President Donald Trump is complicated over several factors: the protracted incarceration of American pastor Andrew Brunson and the resulting U.S. sanctions against Turkey to secure his release; Ankara’s continuing frustration over the refusal of the U.S. to extradite religious leader and sworn Erdogan enemy Fethullah Gulen for trial; and the U.S. prosecution and sentencing of Turkish banker Mehmet Haken Atilla for his role in a billion-dollar conspiracy.

Most recently, Erdogan and Trump appear to have a more convivial relationship. 

In a tweet in January, the president signaled he was “open for business” with Turkey:  “Spoke w/ President Erdogan of Turkey to advise where we stand on all matters…Also spoke about economic development between the U.S. and Turkey—great potential to substantially expand!”

In near-final returns from the balloting Sunday, Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) clung to a narrow majority in municipal elections throughout Turkey. 

Most dramatically and unexpectedly, the AKP lost control of City Halls in the capital city of Ankara and in Istanbul—Turkey’s largest city, where Erdogan himself got his political start as mayor nearly a quarter century ago. 

Obviously aware of the impact municipal elections make on Turkish politics, Erdogan made an estimated 100 appearances on behalf of AKP-backed candidates.

While agreeing that the elections were a major blow to Erdogan, few pundits were willing to say his days in power were numbered.  As Cansu Camlibel told us, “It would be too premature to say that this is the beginning of the end because first this was a local election and second because he still has a 52 percent majority thanks to his alliance with the ultra-nationalists.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
 

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It's unusual when elections for mayor and city council make international headlines and top the television news. But that was the case Monday, after Turkish voters sent a shocking rebuke to strongman President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
erdogan, turkey, trump
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2019-32-02
Tuesday, 02 April 2019 06:32 AM
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