Kyrgyz President Gatecrashes (New) Turkish President's Party

Atambayev celebrates his Turkish counterpart's victory. Screenshot from YouTube video uploaded by Zorbey Medya.

Atambayev celebrates his Turkish counterpart's victory. Screenshot from YouTube video uploaded by Zorbey Medya.

Few people doubted that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would win Turkey's 2014 presidential election, and with a penguin media to complement genuinely strong domestic political support, many expected him to do it in the first round. But almost no-one anticipated that Kyrgyzstan's president, Almazbek Atambayev, would have a role to play in proceedings.

Unabashed Turkophile Atambayev made a surprise appearance on stage following Erdoğan's acceptance speech in Ankara on the evening of August 10. Congratulating the “people's president” in fluent Turkish, Atambayev earned cheers from AKP (Justice and Development Party) supporters in Ankara, but mockery on Twitter, which has been a forum for concentrated opposition to Erdoğan in recent times:

Writing on election night, Istanbul-based journalist Alex Christie Miller tweeted:

CNN's tweet of the moment may have inadvertently granted Atambayev the status of a deity:

 While Al-Jazeera messed up the spelling:

As Erdoğan wins election, President of Kyrgyzstan Almanzek Atambayev, who came to celebrate on the balcony [told Turks]: “Enjoy your new president”.

Turkish tweeps viewed the moment in surreal terms:

Things are getting all Eurovision. Kyrgyzstan just gave us 12 points.

The same tweep added:

It seems the Kyrgyz president is the person to accompany you when you are wooing a girl [metaphor for the Turkish population]. He came for 10 minutes and sang praises, like some overly-talkative distant relative.

Many found Atambayev's flattery of his now opposite number in Turkey somewhat awkward:

Kyrgyzstan's president found the way. He knows that peace comes through cringeworthiness.


[Erdogan] put 200 lira in the Kyrgyz president's pocket and took out some cringe. Son of a bitch!

Others displayed more than a hint of snobbery towards their Turkic-langage ally:

Stop talking empty stuff Kyrgyz president… Have you had too much kymyz [fermented mare's milk]?

Others likened Atambayev to an enthusiastic foreign exchange student:

The Kyrgyz president arrived with the Erasmus programme.

Gökhan continued the student theme:

And now to read the poem, there is a Kyrgyz president from the 5th class on the stage. 

A separate, foreign policy-focused section of the Turkish Twitterazzi, meanwhile, saw it as the beginning of a new, imperialistic presidency for Erdoğan:

The first country [Erdoğan] has attached to New Turkey is Kyrgyzstan. We should change our direction towards the Balkans and take Bosnia

It is worth noting that Kyrgyzstan and Turkey's presidencies are heading in different directions. Changes were made to Kyrgyzstan's constitution in 2010 to make a frequently despotic executive office less powerful, while in Turkey, Erdoğan is committed to expanding the powers of a semi-ceremonial Head of State position at the expense of the Prime Minister's office he has occupied since 2003. Some tongue-in-cheek tweeps even suggested Atambayev might be a suitable candidate to head a weakened Turkish parliament. He can certainly talk the talk…


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