Erdoğan sworn in before parliament for a new five-year presidential term

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Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on Saturday, sworn in as president of Türkiye for a third five-year term, amid worsening economic problems in his country, calling on his people for peace.

After being re-elected with 52% of the vote on May 28 in an unprecedented second round of elections in Türkiye, the 69-year-old president, who has been in power for two decades, was sworn in before parliament.

After visiting the tomb of the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Erdoğan headed to the luxurious presidential palace that he built on a hill at a distance from the center of the capital, where he will hold a dinner in the presence of heads of state and government and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

At the presidential palace, the Turkish president called on his opponents to find a way to bring peace.

“Let’s put aside the resentment and anger resulting from this electoral period,” he told the audience of heads of state and government, welcoming each of them by name.

He added, “We expect the opposition to work with a sense of responsibility for Türkiye’s well-being and democracy,” calling on “parties, journalists, writers, civil society, and artists to reconcile with the national will”.

However, he avoided referring to the tens of thousands of representatives of these groups languishing in prisons.

On the opposition side, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies remained seated when members of Parliament stood after Erdoğan took the constitutional oath and delivered a speech, including the election candidate Kamal Kılıçdaroğlu, who forced Erdoğan for the first time to run in a second election round against him.

Under heavy rain, Erdogan visited the mausoleum of Atatürk, where he welcomed the start of a new era and vowed to return the earthquake victims to their homes as soon as possible.

At least 50,000 people died in the February 6, 2023 earthquake, which displaced millions of people in southern Türkiye.

Stoltenberg will once again try to convince the Turkish president to lift his objection to Sweden joining NATO, if possible before the alliance holds a summit in July in Vilnius.

Although Stockholm approved a constitutional amendment that allowed it to adopt a new law toughening the fight against terrorism, Ankara still accuses it of harboring terrorists from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara and its Western allies classify on terrorist lists.

Among those present at Erdoğan’s inauguration ceremony were Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban – who also opposes Sweden’s accession to NATO – and Prime Minister of Qatar Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman al Thani, who were among the first to congratulate the Turkish president on his victory.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Türkiye and Armenia haven’t established official diplomatic relations, and the land borders between them closed since 1993.

Tension prevails between the two countries due to Ankara’s refusal to recognize the massacres of Armenians during the Ottoman Empire during World War I as genocide.

However, a rapprochement began between the two countries in early 2022, despite Ankara’s support for Baku on the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh, the disputed region between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Among the prominent faces who also attended on Saturday were Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in addition to the heads of several African countries – Congo-Brazzaville, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa and Algeria – in a reflection of Turkish diplomatic activity on the African continent.

Erdoğan promised them all “more initiatives to find solutions to global crises,” especially since Ankara has maintained good relations with Kiev and Moscow since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine without imposing sanctions on Russia and regularly offering its mediation.

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