Despite the low voter turnout, Erdogan continues for another term: after two decades in power, incumbent Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan defeated his opposition rival, Kemal Kilicdaroğlu. "We have been given responsibility to govern for the next five years," he told supporters in his victory speech after the near-final results were announced.
The first to congratulate was the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who called Erdogan to congratulate him on his election victory. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban also called Erdogan and congratulated him on his victory. Now, Israeli President Isaac Herzog also congratulated the president, with whom he met about a year ago: "Congratulations to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his election victory. I am convinced that together we will continue to work to strengthen and expand the good ties between Turkey and Israel," Herzog wrote in a series of tweets in Hebrew, Turkish and English.
Congratulations to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his election victory. I am convinced that we will continue to work together to strengthen and expand the good relations between Turkey and Israel.
— Isaac Herzog (@Isaac_Herzog) May 28, 2023
Both rival camps expressed concern about low voter turnout compared to the peak figures in the first round of voting two weeks ago (about 88%). Erdogan and Kiliçdaroğlu called on their supporters to go out and vote, but Turkey's leader of the past two decades ended the evening on the winners' podium.
Herzog and Erdogan held a historic meeting last year at Erdogan's palace in Ankara. It was the first meeting by an Israeli leader in the country since 2008. The last time Israel's president visited Turkey was a year earlier, in 2007.
Erdogan Wins Turkey's Presidential Elections | Reuters
At a press conference held by the two after their meeting, Erdogan said that he was happy to host Herzog at the presidential palace in Ankara – and congratulated him on his arrival in the country: "I believe that this historic visit will be a turning point in relations between Turkey and Israel. Strengthening relations with the State of Israel is of great value to our country."
Israeli President Herzog replied: "Mr. President, unfortunately relations between our countries have gone through a period of drought in recent years. Now, I believe that these relationships will be tested by actions that reflect a spirit of mutual respect, and will enable us to better address the regional and global challenges we all share. Israel and Turkey can and should cooperate in many areas that dramatically affect this region that we all get to call home."
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