Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan fulfilled practically everyone’s predictions by winning the country’s first direct presidential election Sunday. But rather than putting an end to the divisive political battles that have roiled the country and the inflammatory stance that has strained Turkey’s relations with neighbors, Erdogan’s victory promises to usher in yet another era of contentious domestic and international politics.
The newly elected, soon-to-be President Erdogan will start a new phase of his plan to become an even more dominant figure in Turkey’s political landscape for many more years to come. As Ian Bremmer put it on Twitter following the election, “Erdogan pleased with the Turkish presidency. But he won’t be truly satisfied until he’s Sultan.”
Bremmer was obviously using hyperbole for his 140-character analysis. But Erdogan’s blueprint for expanding his power by turning the presidency, currently a very weak position, into a powerful executive will require the kind of political machinations, bullying tactics and fiery populist rhetoric, including on foreign policy, for which he has already come to be known.