The View from India | The reign of Erdogan continues

(This article forms a part of the View From India newsletter curated by The Hindu’s foreign affairs experts. To get the newsletter in your inbox every Monday, subscribe here.)

Before the May 14 general elections in Turkey, most opinion polls stated that Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the country’s Islamist leader who has been in power since 2003, was in trouble. Turkey was struggling with hyper-inflation and the lira, the currency, was in free fall. Some 50,000 people were killed in an earthquake in February, which raised questions about the government’s building permit policy. The opposition, which has been in disarray ever since Mr. Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) rose to power, came together and put up a united candidate. But still, they failed to defeat Mr. Erdogan. In the first round, Mr. Erdogan won 49.5% vote, while his main rival, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, a former bureaucrat, secured 44.9% of votes, pushing the race to a second round. In Sunday’s run-off, Mr. Erdogan won 52.1% of the vote, against Mr. Kilicdaroglu’s 47.9%, extending his rule for five more years.

The fact that the opposition forced Mr. Erdogan to go into a run-off itself showed that his brand of politics, a blend of Islamism, welfarism and nationalism, was ageing. But the opposition was not strong enough to beat him. Now that he is reelected, Mr. Erdogan’s balancing foreign policy would continue. Turkey, a NATO member, has cultivated strong ties with Russia in recent years. After Russia invaded Ukraine, Turkey has sent armed drones to Ukraine, but refused to join western sanctions against Moscow. Turkey has also held a veto over the accession of Sweden into NATO. Mr. Erdogan also tried to shift the focus of Turkey’s engagement from Europe to the Arab world. At home, he is accused of suppressing dissent, discriminating against religious and ethnic minorities and Islamising society. What is the enduring allure of the AKP leader? In this profile, I try to trace Mr. Erdogan’s rise to power and his powerful ideology that continues to keep him as Turkey’s most powerful leader since Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

The fall of Bakhmut

This image taken from a video shows a damaged building in the Belgorod region, Russia, on May 22, 2023.
| Photo Credit:
AP

After 10 months of fighting, Russia’s Ministry of Defence announced last week that its troops have taken control of Bakhmut, in their first major territorial gain since January when they took neighbouring Soledar. Ukraine claims that its troops continue to defend a small area of Bakhmut and is advancing on its flanks, but has admitted that the eastern city “is effectively in Russian hands, for now”. The Russian gain comes at a time when Ukraine was preparing for a counteroffensive with advanced weapons they got from the West. In recent weeks, Ukraine also carried out a number of attacks inside Russia. Now all eyes are on Ukraine’s counteroffensive. The battle of Bakhmut was costly for both sides. Both sides lost men and weapons. But eventually, Ukraine lost the city as well. In December, Ukraine President Zelensky had said that if Bakhmut fell, then it would be an open road for Russia to march to other cities in the east. Now that they have list the city, the pressure is on Ukraine to make gains in their counteroffensive to turn the tide of the war. In this edit, After Bakhmut,The Hindu writes that “As both sides are determined to continue the war, there is no hope for peace or talks on the horizon.”

China watch

China is continuing to expand the network of model villages or ‘Xiaokang’ (moderately prosperous) villages opposite the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Middle sector and Eastern sectors of the border. In addition, new posts are also coming up about 6-7 km from the LAC in the Middle sector, according to official sources and, in some areas, the frequency of patrolling has gone up significantly, reports Dinakar Peri. Opposite Barahoti, which has seen face-offs in the past, the Chinese are building villages at a rapid pace, sometimes as many as 300-400 houses in multi-storey blocks within 90-100 days. Officials said PLA patrols have been observed in 15 days or so compared to once in a season earlier, which is about three or four months. Small patrols are also being seen in Mana, Neeti and Thangla areas.

Meanwhile, China and Bhutan held their 12th Expert Group Meeting (EGM), which oversees the actual boundary talks, in Thumpu, reports Suhasini Haidar. “The two sides expressed their confidence in the Three-Step Roadmap and reiterated the importance of increasing the frequency of their meetings to make further progress in its implementation. They agreed to hold the next EGM in Beijing at an early date,” said the joint statement issued by Bhutanese and Chinese Foreign Ministers after the conclusion of the talks on 24-25 May.

Xie Feng, China’s new Ambassador to the United States, speaks to the media upon his arrival at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York in the U.S., on May 23, 2023.

Xie Feng, China’s new Ambassador to the United States, speaks to the media upon his arrival at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York in the U.S., on May 23, 2023.
| Photo Credit:
AP

In another development, China appointed a new Ambassador to the U.S., filling a post that unusually remained vacant for close to five months and heralding what some observers see as a possible sign of a limited thaw in recently frosty relations, reports Ananth Krishnan. Veteran diplomat Xie Feng, who has spent much of his career dealing with the U.S., told reporters after landing in Washington that he had “come here to enhance China-U.S. exchanges and cooperation, and I take this as my important mission”. Beijing is also yet to appoint a new Ambassador to New Delhi for almost seven months, another unusually long gap amid a continuing chill in ties. The former envoy, Sun Weidong, left his post in October and took over as a Vice Foreign Minister in Beijing. It is understood that Beijing as of this month had not yet proposed the name of a successor to New Delhi.

The Top Five

Pakistan’s establishment has an Imran Khan problem: A bad situation is likely to become worse for Pakistan, with four institutions at work pursuing different endgames, writes D. Suba Chandran.

A ‘middle kingdom’ dawns on India’s west: With the emergence of Saudi Arabia as the main arbiter of the Arab world’s agenda, India needs to realign its strategy, writes Mahesh Sachdev.

In Nepal, a fledgling political outfit gives traditional parties a run for their money: The Rastriya Swatantra Party, founded as an anti-corruption platform last year and surged to become the fourth largest party in the Nepal Parliament, seeks to upend the political status quo in the Himalayan country, Sanjeev Satgainya reports from Kathmandu.

 Malaiyaha Tamils | Two hundred years of struggle: Sri Lanka’s hill country Tamils, who are commemorating the 200th anniversary of their ancestors’ arrival in Ceylon, continue to fight exploitation and discrimination, writes Meera Srinivasan in The Hindu Profiles.

A belligerence towards Beijing that is unsettling: Washington’s hostility towards Beijing may bring benefits to India, but a breakdown in China-U.S. ties would be catastrophic for the world, writes Manoj Joshi.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan declares victory in historic Turkey runoff

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he addresses his supporters following early exit poll results for the second round of the presidential election in Istanbul on May 28, 2023.
| Photo Credit: Reuters

The head of Turkey’s election commission on May 28 declared President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the winner of a historic runoff vote that will extend his 20-year rule until 2028.

“Based on provisional results, it has been determined that Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been elected president,” Supreme Election Council chairman Ahmet Yener was quoted as saying by the Anadolu state news agency.

Turkish CHP party leader and Nation Alliance’s presidential candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu makes a statement at CHP headquarters in Ankara on May 28, 2023.

Turkish CHP party leader and Nation Alliance’s presidential candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu makes a statement at CHP headquarters in Ankara on May 28, 2023.
| Photo Credit:
AP

Earlier in the evening, as results showed him leading secular opposition rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Mr. Erdogan declared victory in the historic runoff vote that posed the biggest challenge to his 20 years of transformative but divisive rule.

The 69-year-old leader overcame Turkey’s biggest economic crisis in generations and the most powerful opposition alliance to ever face his Islamic-rooted party to take an unassailable lead.

“We will be ruling the country for the coming five years,” Mr. Erdogan told his cheering supporters from atop a bus in his home district in Istanbul. “God willing, we will be deserving of your trust.”

Turkey’s main cities erupted in jubilation as Mr. Erdogan spoke.

Traffic on Istanbul’s iconic Taksim Square ground to a halt and huge crowds gathered outside his presidential palace in Ankara.

Turkey’s longest-serving leader was tested like never before in what was widely seen as the country’s most consequential election in its 100-year history as a post-Ottoman republic.

Mr. Kilicdaroglu cobbled together a powerful coalition that grouped Erdogan’s disenchanted former allies with secular nationalists and religious conservatives.

He pushed Mr. Erdogan into Turkey’s first runoff on May 14 and narrowed the margin further in the second round.

Opposition supporters viewed it as a do-or-die chance to save Turkey from being turned into an autocracy by a man whose consolidation of power rivals that of Ottoman sultans.

“I invite all my citizens to cast their ballot in order to get rid of this authoritarian regime and bring true freedom and democracy to this country,” Mr. Kilicdaroglu said after casting his ballot on May 28..


Also Read | Voters in Turkey return to polls to decide on opposing Presidential visions

Opposition gamble

Mr. Kilicdaroglu re-emerged a transformed man after the first round.

The former civil servant’s message of social unity and freedoms gave way to desk-thumping speeches about the need to immediately expel migrants and fight terrorism.

His right-wing turn was targeted at nationalists who emerged as the big winners of the parallel parliamentary elections.

The 74-year-old had always adhered to the firm nationalist principles of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk — a revered military commander who formed Turkey and Mr. Kilicdaroglu’s secular CHP party.

But these had played a secondary role to his promotion of socially liberal values practised by younger voters and big-city residents.

Analysts doubted Mr. Kilicdaroglu’s gamble would work.

His informal alliance with a pro-Kurdish party that Mr. Erdogan portrays as the political wing of banned militants left him exposed to charges of working with “terrorists”.

And Mr. Kilicdaroglu’s courtship of Turkey’s hard right was hampered by the endorsement Mr. Erdogan received from an ultra-nationalist who finished third two weeks ago.

Some opposition supporters sounded defeated already, after emerging from the polls.

“Today is not like the last time. I was more excited then,” Bayram Ali Yuce said in one of Istanbul’s anti-Erdogan neighbourhoods.

“The outcome seems more obvious now. But I still voted.”

Champion of poor

Mr. Erdogan is lionised by poorer and more rural swathes of Turkey’s fractured society because of his promotion of religious freedoms and modernisation of once-dilapidated cities in the Anatolian heartland.

“It was important for me to keep what was gained over the past 20 years in Turkey,” company director Mehmet Emin Ayaz told AFP in Ankara. “Turkey isn’t what it was in the old days. There is a new Turkey today,” the 64-year-old said.

But Mr. Erdogan has caused growing consternation across the Western world because of his crackdowns on dissent and pursuit of a muscular foreign policy.

He launched military incursions into Syria that infuriated European powers and put Turkish soldiers on the opposite side of Kurdish forces supported by the United States.

His personal relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin has also survived the Kremlin’s war on Ukraine.

Turkey’s troubled economy is benefiting from a crucial deferment of payment on Russian energy imports that helped Erdogan spend lavishly on campaign pledges this year.

Mr. Erdogan also delayed Finland’s membership of NATO and is still refusing to let Sweden join the U.S.-led defence bloc.

‘Day of reckoning’

Turkey’s unravelling economy will pose the most immediate test for Mr. Erdogan.

Mr. Erdogan went through a series of central bankers to find one who would enact his wish to slash interest rates at all costs in 2021 — flouting conventional economics in the belief that lower rates can cure chronically high inflation.

Turkey’s currency soon entered freefall and the annual inflation rate touched 85 percent last year.

Mr. Erdogan has promised to continue these policies and rejected predictions of economic peril from analysts.

Turkey burned through tens of billions of dollars trying to support the lira from politically sensitive falls ahead of the vote.

Many analysts say Turkey must now hike interest rates or abandon its attempts to support the lira.

“The day of reckoning for Turkey’s economy and financial markets may now just be around the corner,” analysts at Capital Economics warned.

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In divided Turkey, Erdogan’s hold is weakened but not broken

“Why are you so curious,” Cehan finally asked after at least 40 minutes of Google Translate-aided conversation. And suddenly, it occurred to me that his honest responses could have got him in trouble if he was not careful. Sitting on a public bench in Kaleici, Antalya, overlooking the blue Mediterranean waters, we discussed politics, President Erdogan’s possible return, growing religiosity in Turkey, steep inflation, and the Kurds.

On May 15, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — an Islamist who was imprisoned on the charges of inciting religious hatred and violence in 1999 while holding the mayoral office of Istanbul — prayed at Hagia Sophia for his return as Turkey’s most powerful man despite growing anti-incumbency sentiments. In the opinion polls before the May 14 elections, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Mr. Erdogan’s rival and the opposition coalition candidate, was said to have a slight edge. However, the preliminary results showed that Mr. Erdogan won 49.5% of the votes against Mr. Kılıcdaroglu’s 44.9%, and his coalition has secured a comfortable majority in Parliament.

A resurgent Mr. Erdogan will now face off Mr. Kılıcdaroglu in a presidential run-off May 28.

Stirred but not shaken

Clearly, his hold over Turkey is stirred, not shaken. For each Ataturkist Turkish citizen, there’s at least one staunch Erdogan supporter and half a decrier of the “West’s conspiracy to undermine Islam”.

Cehan, 36, is a fitness trainer in Antalya and he wasn’t expecting to be ambushed by a curious foreigner on a sunny afternoon. He was there with his friend, Orhan, smoking cigarettes and drinking beers that the duo kept furnishing from a tiny black plastic bag. “If he [Erdogan] comes back, we won’t be able to drink beers in public like this,” he typed on his phone and offered me a pint that I was too happy to accept. “My parents are Ottoman supporters, but I am an Ataturk,” he said, referring to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern, secular Turkey.

He declared with mellow pride and echoed the sentiment of many a man and woman in Istanbul, Izmir, Bursa and Pamukkale.

ALSO READ | Weaker by the year: on the elections in Turkey and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

The night before, Semi, 29, a jeweller, was a lot more boisterous. He spoke English with reasonable ease. “I live away from my family because they don’t understand my life and choices. I was with them for Bayrham Ramzan (Id-ul-Fitr) but that’s all. They are becoming increasingly religious, and I cannot deal with it any more.” Semi, however, believes in the Illuminati. He will vote against Mr. Erdogan.

Message to Muslims

Barak, 34, a tourist guide in Istanbul, had given me a great primer the day I landed in Turkey on what most young people in coastal Turkish cities thought of the two decades of President Erdogan’s rule. His guided tour in the Sultanahmet neighbourhood of Istanbul was deeply political in spirit. “The Ottomans decided to convert Hagia Sophia, the church, into a mosque [in the 15th century, after the fall of the Constantinople] They wanted to send a message to all the Muslims worldwide that now they were the caretakers of Islam. Many centuries later, the same message has been conveyed with the conversion of Hagia Sophia the museum into a mosque.”

A banner of Kemal Kiliçdaroglu banner in Izmir, Turkey
| Photo Credit:
Nishtha Gautam

Ataturk, who abolished the Caliphate, closed down Hagia Sophia in 1930. Five years later, it was was reopened as a museum. Mr. Erdogan turned it back to a mosque in July 2020.

“Erdogan has destroyed our country beyond repair,” Barak continued. “People wanted employment, education, and healthcare, he gave them religion. A lot of people in Turkey are not practising Muslims. They gravitated towards ‘nationalism’ to make up for that. Erdogan exploited this. He also exploited the fact that the global economic crash of 2008 did not affect Turkey as badly as it did the rest of Europe and the US.”

Sitting in a historical coffee house in Istanbul — where poets, writers, and philosophers have been communing for centuries — Barak was relentless. “He (Erdogan) has ensured that there are spiralling queues in front of the Hagia Sophia to show that the world is at his doorstep. The Blue Mosque has been under supposed renovation for the past two years and is inaccessible to tourists. And there are these inconvenient barricades outside Hagia Sophia, so, obviously, the crowds build up and give the impression that the world has congregated to applaud his decision to turn it into a mosque.”

Selma and Rashet* (names changed) run a cafe near Suleimani mosque in Istanbul. Rashet is a bit careful while expressing his angst. “We often get into trouble for critiquing Erdogan in front of the foreigners. I have nicknamed him ‘the tall man’ and we spell out KURD while talking about these oppressed people. The police can pick us up for questioning and detain us for talking about the K.U.R.D.S.”

The Kurdish question

The Kurds are the largest ethnic minority in Turkey and an armed conflict between the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a Kurdish militia group, and the Turkish state has been ongoing since 1978. In November 2022, a bombing in Istanbul, allegedly carried out by a Kurdish-Syrian separatist, claimed six lives. “Yes, there are Kurdish terrorists in Turkey but why punish the innocent Kurds for the terrorists’ actions?” Rashet asked.

A rock sculpture of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern, secular Turkey, in Izmir, Turkey

A rock sculpture of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern, secular Turkey, in Izmir, Turkey
| Photo Credit:
Nishtha Gautam

After the failed military coup attempt in 2016, Mr. Erdogan undertook a purge that saw his dissenters across civil, military and educational institutions either getting sacked or arrested. His powers grew with the constitutional referendum in 2017 through which the Turkish parliamentary system got converted into a presidential system.

“You know Mussolini? Erdogan is our Mussolini. You know Hitler, he’s our Hitler,” an impassioned native interrupts me as I chat, days later, with Çevat and Sara (names changed), the local shopkeepers of Derinkuyu village in the Anatolian plateau region of Turkey. This statement came as a mild surprise. Geographically speaking, rural Anatolia (Anadolu in Turkish) has been rallying behind Erdogan, as against the ‘liberal’ cities of Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara, Antalya et al. Konya, the biggest province of Turkey, is called Erdogan’s fortress.

Inshallah, Erdogan

Despite the criticisms he faces and the mounting economic woes of Turkey, including runaway inflation, the President’s supporters remain adamant and confident. Mehmet, 20, who works in a small cafe in the Ilhara Valley in the tourist-riddled Cappadocia region, says, “Inshallah, Erdogan!” He responded to my sly question about the next possible President that I cautiously slip in after almost an hour of Google Translate-facilitated conversations about food, fashion, education, family, and girls. I smile and ask about the state of the economy. This time his father, Yunus, gesticulates, “Prices up up up!”

Inflation has been Erdogan’s biggest challenge as it surged to above 85% last year and is hovering around 40% now. Why is he not able to control inflation, I enquire. Mehmet punched the following on my keypad: “Everything is in control. All is well. Mashallah.”

Birsen Aliçi, a political worker of the Turkish Workers’ Party (TIP), puts up posters of party candidates

Birsen Aliçi, a political worker of the Turkish Workers’ Party (TIP), puts up posters of party candidates
| Photo Credit:
Nishtha Gautam

My conversation is interrupted by an incoming canvassing party. Yilmaz Ilhan, a local candidate, arrives with his supporters to seek votes. Contesting as an independent, he is sure that Mr. Erdogan will come back. His confidence is built on the support of people like Gursen and Sinaan (names changed), the police guards posted outside a heritage site in the region. But equally confident was Birsen Aliçi, a political worker of the Turkish Workers’ Party (TIP), who was putting up posters of her candidates at midnight in Antalya and wanted me to meet them. “We’ll make sure Erdogan does not come back to power. Turkey has had enough.”

There is Najat (name changed), too. A hardcore Ataturkist, Najat works with Turkish Airlines. “Even if I woke up on May 29 and saw the regime change, I won’t be able to believe it. He (Erdogan) will not go easily. He cannot afford to, there are too many skeletons in his cupboard. His family, friends, and coterie have indulged in corruption and crimes and won’t survive out of power. Yes, you may call me a pessimist.”

As despondency surges in the anti-Erdogan camp, all eyes are now on Ekrem İmamoğlu, mayor of Istanbul and Kemal Kilicdaroglu’s vice presidential candidate. What Turkey decides will have consequences not just for the country, but for the rest of the world, too.

Nishtha Gautam is a Delhi-based writer, entrepreneur.

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Turkey elections | Why Europe is watching closely

Turkey’s elections on May 14 are a key moment not just for the country itself but also for its European neighbours.

With President Tayyip Erdogan facing his toughest electoral test in two decades, European Union and NATO members are watching to see whether change comes to a country that affects them on issues ranging from security to migration and energy. Relations between Erdogan and the EU have become highly strained in recent years, as the 27-member bloc cooled on the idea of Ankara becoming a member and condemned crackdowns on human rights, judicial independence and media freedom.

Also read | Turkish candidate drops out of presidential race

Leading members of NATO, to which Turkey belongs, have expressed alarm at Mr. Erdogan’s close relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and concern that Turkey is being used to circumvent sanctions on Moscow over its war in Ukraine.

Erdogan’s challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, has pledged more freedom at home and foreign policies hewing closer to the West.

Whatever the outcome, Turkey’s European neighbours will use the election and its aftermath to assess their relationship with Ankara and the degree to which it can be reset.

Here are some key issues that European countries will be watching, according to officials, diplomats and analysts:

Election conduct

EU officials have been careful not to express a preference for a candidate. But they have made clear they will be looking out for vote-rigging, violence or other election interference.

Pedestrians walk past a giant banner of Turkish President and People’s Alliance’s presidential candidate Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and Turkish CHP party leader and Nation Alliance’s presidential candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu, background right, at Taksim square in Istanbul on May 10, 2023.
| Photo Credit:
AP

“It is important that the process itself is clean and free,” said Sergey Lagodinsky, a German member of the European Parliament who co-chairs a group of EU and Turkish lawmakers.

Peter Stano, a spokesman for the EU’s diplomatic service, said the bloc expected the vote to be “transparent and inclusive” and in line with democratic standards Turkey has committed to. A worst-case scenario for both Turkey and the EU would be a contested result – perhaps after a second round – leading the incumbent to launch a crackdown on protests, said Dimitar Bechev, the author of a book on Turkey under Erdogan.

Sweden and NATO

“Five more years of Erdogan means five more years of Turkey being with one weak foot in NATO and one strong foot with Russia,” said Marc Pierini, a former EU ambassador to Turkey who is now a senior fellow at the Carnegie Europe think tank.

Erdogan has vexed other NATO members by buying a Russian S-400 missile defence system and contributing little to NATO’s reinforcement of its eastern flank.

An early test of whether the election winner wants to mend NATO ties will be whether he stops blocking Swedish membership. Erdogan has demanded Stockholm extradite Kurdish militants but Swedish courts have blocked some expulsions.

Analysts and diplomats expect Kilicdaroglu would end the block on Sweden joining NATO, prompting Hungary – the only other holdout – to follow suit. That could let Sweden join in time for a NATO summit in Lithuania in July.

Some analysts and diplomats say Erdogan might also lift his objections after the elections but others are unconvinced.

Relations with Russia

Although Mr. Erdogan has tried to strike a balance between Moscow and the West, his political relationship with Mr. Putin and Turkey’s economic ties to Russia are a source of EU frustration. That will likely continue if Erdogan wins another term.

If Kilicdaroglu triumphs, European officials would likely be content with a gradual shift away from Moscow, recognising that Turkey is in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis and its economy depends on Russia to a significant extent.

“With Russia, a new government will be treading very carefully,” Mr. Bechev said. However, Kilicdaroglu showed this week he was willing to criticise Russia, publicly accusing Moscow of responsibility for fake material on social media ahead of Sunday’s ballot.

Rule of law, Cyprus

If Kilicdaroglu and his coalition wins, the EU will be keen to see if they keep promises to release Mr. Erdogan critics from jail, in line with European Court of Human Rights rulings, and generally improve rule-of-law standards.

“You’re going to have a wait-and-see attitude from the EU,” said Mr. Pierini.

If there is a crackdown on graft, European companies may be ready to make big investments in Turkey once again, perhaps with backing from the EU and its member governments, he said.

Turkey – Syria earthquake | Why India’s relief efforts matter

Efforts to expand an EU-Turkey customs union to include more goods and grant Turks visa-free EU travel could also be revived.

But neither would be easy – not least because of the divided island of Cyprus. Its internationally recognised government, composed of Greek Cypriots, is an EU member, while the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state is recognised only by Ankara.

“This is of course the big stumbling block in our relations,” said European Parliament member Lagodinsky.

However, EU officials see little sign that Kilicdaroglu would change much on Cyprus.

“The big game changer for EU-Turkey relations would be Cyprus. Here the candidates’ agenda, however, does not seem fundamentally different,” said a senior EU official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Cyprus is one of many factors that make a revival of EU membership negotiations unlikely, officials and analysts say. EU leaders designated Turkey as a candidate to join the bloc in 2004 but the talks ground to a halt years ago.

“There are many other ways to strengthen the relationship, build confidence. There is already a lot of European money that has made its way to Turkey,” said a European diplomat. “I don’t know anyone in Europe who wants to revive EU membership talks.”

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