UK Muslim groups congratulate Turkish Ambassador ahead of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s inauguration
The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was scheduled to be sworn in Saturday 3rd June for a third term, following his victory in the recent run-off elections last weekend. He will take the oath at 3pm local time at the General Assembly in Ankara, after which he will attend a ceremony at the Presidential Palace with dignitaries and high-level officials. Special guests from more than 78 countries will include the Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg; President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro; Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Armenian Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan.
President Erdogan’s guest list will be interesting for many, as it has been no secret that most Western government’s were hoping that his election campaign and his hopes to continue in a position of power, would fail. In the words of the Guardian newspaper’s diplomatic editor, Patrick Wintour:
'Western capitals remained silent through Turkey's presidential campaign'
‘Western Capitals remained silent through Turkey’s presidential campaign – privately hoping Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s erratic 20 year rule would come to a surprise close – but now he has been handed a decisive mandate to serve a third term, the west is caught between fear and hope.’
Erdogan is expected to take the opportunity of the inauguration ceremony to announce his new cabinet which will lead Turkey’s government into the next 5 year term.
UK Muslim groups congratulate the Turkish people on their 'exemplary' display of democracy
Clearly the majority of Turkey’s electorate did not share the same concerns as Western governments or their press, nor for that matter did the larger proportion of Muslims worldwide. Indeed, earlier this week in London, a significant gathering of the UK’s most prominent Muslim organisations gathered and delivered a special message of congratulations to the newly appointed Turkish Ambassador in London.
Representatives from 18 Muslim umbrella organisations, community groups and think tanks formed the unique delegation visiting the Turkish Ambassador in person on Tuesday 31st May at the Turkish Embassy in London’s Belgravia, where they presented him with a strong message of solidarity and special congratulations to the people of Turkey for participating in what was described by one of the delegation spokespersons – Dr. Anas Altikriti as:
‘an exemplary democratic process and a manifestation of where Turkey has become on the global front.’
Ambassador expresses dismay at negative coverage of the elections
The meeting discussed the anomalies within western media coverage of the elections - which broadly appeared to portray the incumbent President as a dictator, who if re-elected would plunge Turkey into a position of adversary to the West. According to Dr Altikriti, His Excellency, the Turkish Ambassador, at their meeting openly ‘expressed his own dismay and that of the Turkish people, who were constantly presented with the suggestion that Recep Tayyip Erdogan was an authoritarian who would if re-elected plunge Turkey into a period of darkness and that as a country it would face quite bleak future prospects.’
According to Dr. Anas Altikriti – Founder and Chairman of the Cordoba Foundation, who led the UK delegation, such sentiments could not have been further from the truth. He compared the paranoia of the Western press during the Turkish elections, to that which we in the UK experienced during the Brexit campaign in 2016 - a discourse which was punctuated with false flags of fear and populist sentiments of xenophobia.
The reality was a totally different story. Dr Altikriti was unequivocal about the success of the elections and said:
‘Yet all of that actually came to what was quite a fantastic manifestation of the Turkish peoples commitment to democracy and a result which was resounding, it was clear, it was unequivocal and which no one really disputed. That in itself, is something that the Turkish people should be congratulated for and admired for. That is something that we as British Muslim organisations wish to convey to the newly appointed Turkish ambassador.’