Turkey elections: Putin and Zelenskyy among world leaders to congratulate Erdogan on election victory

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, accompanied by his wife Emine Erdogan, addresses his supporters following early exit poll results for the second round of the presidential election in Istanbul, Turkey May 28, 2023. Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.

Yes, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy were among the world leaders who congratulated Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his victory in the second round of the Turkish presidential election on Sunday.

In a letter to president Erdogan celebrating his narrow run-off victory on Sunday, Mr Putin addressed the Turkish leader as “Dear Friend” and praised his efforts at strengthening Russian-Turkish relations.

“From the bottom of my heart I wish you new successes in such a responsible activity as the head of state, as well as good health and well-being,” he added.

Mr Zelensky also offered his congratulations to Mr Erdogan and spoke of the need for the “further strengthening” of Ukraine and Turkey’s “strategic” partnership.


He was joined by Western leaders, such as Rishi SunakJoe Biden and Emmanuel Macron, who took to Twitter to congratulate Mr Erdogan on his election win.

In a letter to Erdogan, Putin said that he was “convinced that the traditionally friendly relations between Russia and Turkey will continue to develop in a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation.”

Zelenskyy, for his part, said that he was “looking forward to continuing our close cooperation with Turkey on all issues of mutual interest.”

Other world leaders who congratulated Erdogan included US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.


Erdogan won the election with 52.1% of the vote, defeating his main challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who received 47.9% of the vote.

Erdogan’s victory gives him a mandate to continue his rule for another five years. He has been in power since 2003.

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Erdogan is a controversial figure. He has been criticized for his authoritarian style of leadership and his human rights record. However, he is also seen as a strong leader who has been able to maintain stability in Turkey.

It remains to be seen how Erdogan will use his new mandate. He has said that he will focus on improving the economy and reducing unemployment. He has also said that he will continue to pursue his foreign policy goals, including improving relations with Russia and Iran.


The election result is a significant development in Turkish politics. It shows that Erdogan remains a popular figure among Turkish voters. It also shows that Turkey is a key player in the Middle East and that Erdogan will continue to be a major force in regional politics.

Turkey holds an important position in world politics, in part because of its geographical location as the junction between Europe and Asia – in particular the Middle East.

With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Turkey also holds increasing importance as the gatekeeper to the Black Sea and has been central in negotiating crucial deals to maintain the export of Ukrainian grain.

Though a NATO country – and one which has in the past pushed for European Union membership – Turkey maintains diplomatic relations with Russia.

Recognition from world leaders comes after Mr Erdogan’s opponent, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, called the elections “the most unjust ever,” adding that all state resources mobilized for Erdogan.

‘Russia must return land to Ukraine’

Mr Erdogan, however, has also in the past talked about the importance of maintaining Ukraine’s territorial integrity and securing a peace deal to end the conflict.

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In September last year, when asked whether Russia should be able to keep its territorial gains, he told US public broadcaster PBS: “No, and undoubtedly no.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan pose for a photo during a meeting in Moscow
“If a peace is going to be established in Ukraine, of course, the returning of the land that was invaded will become really important. This is what is expected.”

Western leaders, including the UK’s prime minister, have also been keen to push the idea of a “strong relationship” between Turkey and the West.

In a statement, a Downing Street spokesperson said Mr Sunak and Mr Erodgan had spoken since his election victory was confirmed.

“The prime minister reiterated the strong relationship between the United Kingdom and Turkey, as economic partners and close NATO allies,” a spokesperson said.

“The leaders agreed to continue working closely together to address shared challenges.”

Opponent refuses to admit defeat

Kemal Kilicdaroglu took the stage earlier this evening, and in a rousing speech, he refused to admit defeat.

“I wasn’t able to defend your rights,” Kilicdaroglu began by saying. “I did not shirk against an unjust structure, I could not be a silent devil and I was not.


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