Washington DC, 29 May 2023 (TDI): President of the United States (US), Joe Biden, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have extended their congratulations to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his re-election following a historic runoff vote.

President Biden expressed his eagerness to continue working together with President Erdogan on both bilateral issues and shared global challenges.

In a tweet, President Biden stated, “I look forward to continuing to work together as NATO Allies on bilateral issues and shared global challenges.”

The President’s emphasis on NATO reflects the US priority of seeing Sweden join NATO by the Vilnius summit in mid-July while acknowledging that Turkey and Hungary have voiced objections to Sweden’s membership bid.

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Similarly, Secretary Blinken conveyed his congratulations to President Erdogan, underscoring the value of Turkey as a NATO ally and partner. Notably, both leaders refrained from discussing recent tensions in the bilateral relationship, choosing instead to focus on the positive aspects of the partnership.

Erdogan wins

President Erdogan secured a narrow victory over opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu in what has been widely regarded as Turkey’s most significant election in its 100-year history.

After counting 99.43% of the votes, Turkey’s supreme election authority declared late on Sunday that Erdogan had secured 52.14% of the votes, while Kılıçdaroğlu garnered 47.86%.

With a significant gap of over 2 million votes between the candidates, the remaining uncounted votes were deemed insufficient to alter the outcome, as stated by Ahmet Yener, the head of the election board.

US-Turkey Relations

The relationship between Turkey and the US has faced strains in recent years due to various factors, including crackdowns on dissent, military operations in Syria, President Erdogan’s close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin amidst the Ukraine conflict, and Turkey’s objections to Sweden’s NATO membership bid.

Nevertheless, both President Biden and Secretary Blinken sought to underscore the significance of the broader alliance and collaboration between the two nations. Furthermore, the re-election of President Erdogan signals continuity in Turkish leadership and sets the stage for further engagement between the US and Turkey.

Also Read: Erdoğan Triumphs: Turkish Citizens’ Strong Support Secures Victory

Moving forward, it is also expected that differences over Syria policy, Ankara’s relationship with Moscow, and the potential sale of US-made F-16 fighter jets to Turkey will continue to be points of contention between the two NATO allies.

However, the congratulatory messages from President Biden and Secretary Blinken demonstrate a commitment to maintaining open lines of communication and working towards constructive solutions.