Is Erdogan sinking into the economic crisis?

IIn Ankara, there is a phrase that does not bode well: there will be no normal change of government in Turkey. It will therefore not be possible, which is obvious in a developed democracy. Because for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AKP, which has reigned for nineteen years, the stakes are too high. Defeat is not expected in the life of powerman Erdogan, and without the protection of the office, the enrichment of his family and immediate surroundings would come to light.

It was an economic crisis that imploded the old party system and brought Erdogan to power in 2002. At that time, everything in his hands seemed to turn to gold, as with the legendary Greek king Midas, Turkey became a thriving emerging market. Today, however, a reverse King Midas effect can be observed, for example the central bank’s currency holdings, which Erdogan leaked because, ignoring all economic doctrines, he believes that with low interest rates , it can fight inflation and keep the Turkish lira stable.

Turkish lira lost almost half of its value

Erdogan had to learn, however, that the market cannot be locked in like nasty reviews. Now the economy is threatening to trigger its downfall. The Turkish lira has lost almost half of its value in twelve months, and inflation, at 36%, is higher than ever during the AKP era. The situation is increasingly comparable to the crisis that Erdogan once brought to power. After that he was able to distribute money to the rich and for a long time religion and nationalism to the poor. Today, it only has religion and the nationalist card left.

Erdogan’s economic and interest rate policy found itself at an impasse. But the country is in turmoil. So could Turkey become the next Kazakhstan, where anger over massive price hikes erupts during nationwide protests? The victorious opposition leader Kemal Kiliçdaroglu says the Turks are not a demonstrating people. The decision will be taken at the polls. The next legislative and presidential elections must take place in June 2023 at the latest. In the tense situation, however, one gets the impression that the country has long been in the hot phase of the election campaign.


Supporters of President Erdogan in Karaman on January 8, 2022
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Image: Getty

And Erdogan himself is heating up the mood, comparing potential protesters to the July 2016 coup plotters as a precaution. CHP chairman Kiliçdaroglu then asked him if he was deliberately trying to start a civil war, and Meral Akşener, the president of the Iyi Party, advised “the hallucinatory Erdogan” to seek advice from a psychiatrist.

Even though the alliance between the AKP and the far-right MHP lags behind the opposition alliance in the polls, many in the AKP still believe in victory. But would Erdogan take part in an election he was losing? Would he bow to the vote? Discussions in the country revolve around the question of what means he could use to ensure his power. In a state of war, the elections could be postponed. A normal change of government seems far away.

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