Is Erdogan falling over the economic crisis?

IIn Ankara there is a sentence that doesn’t bode well: There will be no normal change of government in Turkey. So it will not be possible, which is a matter of course in a grown democracy. Because for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AKP, which has ruled for nineteen years, too much is at stake. Defeat is not foreseen in the life of the power man Erdogan, and without the protection of the office, the enrichment of his family and his immediate environment would be dragged 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 be turning to gold, as with the Greek legendary figure King Midas, Turkey became a prosperous emerging market. Today, however, a reverse King Midas effect can be observed, for example the central bank’s foreign exchange holdings, which Erdogan disclosed because, disregarding all economic doctrines, he believes that with low interest rates he can fight inflation and keep the Turkish lira stable.

The Turkish lira has lost almost half of its value

Erdogan had to learn, however, that the market cannot be locked up like unpleasant critics. Now the economy threatens to trigger his fall. The Turkish lira has lost almost half of its value in twelve months, and inflation, at 36 percent, is higher than ever before in the era of the AKP. 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 religion and nationalism to the poor for a long time. Today all he has left is religion and the nationalist map.

Erdogan’s economic and interest rate policy has maneuvered himself into a dead end. But the country is in turmoil. So could Turkey become the next Kazakhstan, where the anger over massive price hikes erupts in nationwide protests? The victorious opposition leader Kemal Kiliçdaroglu says the Turks are not a people that demonstrate. The decision will be made at the ballot box. The next parliamentary and presidential elections must take place by June 2023 at the latest. In the tense situation, however, the impression arises that the country has long been in the hot election campaign phase.


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 demonstrators with the coup plotters of July 2016 as a precautionary measure. The CHP chairman Kiliçdaroglu then asked him whether he was deliberately trying to start a civil war, and Meral Akşener, the chairman of the Iyi Parti, advised the ” hallucinating Erdogan ”to get advice from a psychiatrist.

Even if the alliance between the AKP and the far-right MHP is behind the opposition alliance in surveys, many in the AKP still believe in a victory. But would Erdogan go into an election that he was losing? Would he bow to the vote? The discussions in the country revolve around the question of what means he could use to secure his power. In a state of war, the elections could be postponed. A normal change of government seems a long way off.

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