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Emre Caliskan

Research Fellow

Emre Caliskan is a PhD candidate in International Relations at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. His dissertation explores the role of Turkish Islamic non-state actors in Turkey’s foreign policy making in Sub-Saharan Africa. His other interests include transnational Islam, and Islam in Africa. He holds an MA in Middle East and Mediterranean Studies from King’s College, University of London and is the co-author, with Simon Waldman, of The ‘New Turkey’ and its Discontents (2017) which assesses social, religious and political polarisation under President Erdogan’s AKP and the likely consequences for Turkey’s evolution. A Turkish analyst and freelance journalist, Emre has worked for the BBC Turkish service, Cumhuriyet, Newsweek Turkey and the Turkish public broadcaster TRT, as a foreign correspondent based in Ankara, Damascus, Beijing and London. He has given numerous interviews on British and International media (including Financial Times, Economist, BBC, AP, Voice of America, and Russia Today) He has also been working a freelance political and business consultant on Turkey related issues.

Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 7034 [post_author] => 48 [post_date] => 2023-09-06 12:01:17 [post_date_gmt] => 2023-09-06 11:01:17 [post_content] => In recent years, Turkey has used G20 meetings as part of its ‘the World is Bigger than Five’ campaign launched by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to criticise the structure of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Under Erdoğan's leadership, Turkey has been trying to pursue a more independent and active foreign policy. However, this approach is sometimes at odds with the interests of the Western-based international system and the goals of the UNSC. Nevertheless, Erdoğan wants the G20 to play a more active role in global problems.  At previous G20 meetings, Erdoğan has drawn attention to inequalities within global politics and surrounding the Sustainable Development Goals. For example, Turkey hosted the Least Developing Countries meetings during its G20 presidency in 2015, allowing Erdoğan to send the message that Turkey represents developing countries. Erdoğan's other key priorities at previous G20 meetings have included global terrorism and drawing international attention to Turkey's domestic terrorism problems. For instance, following the coup attempt in 2016, Erdoğan asked G20 leaders to support Turkey’s fight against the Gulen movement, an organisation Turkey blames for the attempted coup. In recent G20 meetings, Erdoğan has focused on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its activities in Iraq and Syria. This gained traction in 2022, when the G20 meeting took place immediately after the PKK attack in Istanbul, which killed eight people and injured over 80 people. The G20 also provides an important platform for Erdoğan to meet with world leaders and solve Turkey's bilateral problems. Erdoğan uses these meetings to boost his personal global image and popularity in Turkey. For instance, US President Joe Biden and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, both of whom have had troubled relations with Erdoğan, have nevertheless met with him at G20 meetings. Erdoğan is likely to have three main topics on his agenda at this year's G20 meeting. Firstly, he is expected to tell world leaders about Turkey's increasing role in the negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, from the grain deal to the prisoner exchange agreement. Secondly, he is likely to talk about Turkey’s role in preventing the influx of refugees into Europe. Thirdly, and most importantly, Erdoğan, who has fallen on hard economic times at home, is trying to repair Turkey's foreign relations, especially with the West, after his third presidential election victory in May, which extended his 21-year rule for another five years. Erdoğan is also likely to call on G20 leaders to invest more in the Turkish economy. One of Erdoğan's important allies at the G20 summit will be the UK. Concerned about Turkey's growing rapprochement with Russia and China, the UK is trying to support Turkey economically, politically and militarily. Following its purchase of the S-400 missile system from Russia, Turkey became subjected to the United States’ Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which imposed sanctions on Turkey and later resulted in Turkey being kicked out of the F-35 fighter programme. The UK, on the other hand, supports Turkey's F-16 modernisation agenda alongside the US, and is prepared to sell Eurofighters to Turkey. Additionally, the UK continues to make significant investments in Turkey's infrastructure. For example, UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK Government's export credit agency, has recently given Turkey a 867 million USD loan for a new high-speed electric railway. Moreover, in 2022, the UK approved its biggest-ever civil infrastructure export finance deal, for 2.3 billion USD, to underwrite a high-speed rail line between the Turkish capital Ankara and the port of Izmir. Emre Caliskan is a political analyst and freelance consultant who previously worked for IHS Markit, now as part of S&P. As a former journalist, he worked for the BBC Turkish Service, Cumhuriyet, and the Turkish public broadcaster TRT, as a foreign correspondent based in Ankara, Damascus, Beijing and London. Emre is a co-author, with Simon A Waldman, of, “The New Turkey and Its Discontents” (Hurst and Co and Oxford University Press: 2017). He is currently completing his PhD in International Relations at University of Oxford. He is also a research fellow at the Foreign Policy Centre. [post_title] => Erdoğan’s priorities for Turkey at the G20 Summit [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => erdogans-priorities-for-turkey-at-the-g20-summit [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2023-09-06 12:25:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2023-09-06 11:25:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )[1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 6933 [post_author] => 48 [post_date] => 2023-05-30 13:45:54 [post_date_gmt] => 2023-05-30 12:45:54 [post_content] => Recep Tayyip Erdoğan won the second round of Turkey's presidential elections, extending his 21-year rule for another five years. Despite the two deadly earthquakes that hit Turkey in February and economic instability being felt in the country, Erdoğan’s win in free but not fair elections is still regarded as a victory.[1] Turkey will remain indispensable for the WestFor the West, working with Erdoğan’s Turkey has been, and will continue to be, a major challenge. Like other authoritarian leaders, Erdoğan has consolidated his power, including through controlling the mainstream media, purging his rivals, and suppressing dissidents. Yet with its high export capacity, Turkey is an important part of the Western economic system. From preventing an irregular influx of migration into the West, to intelligence sharing in combatting global terrorism, Turkey plays a key role in the Western security system. Indeed, Turkey is a crucial member of NATO. Moreover, despite deep political tensions between Turkey and the West, Turkey is still formally a candidate for European Union (EU) accession. Much like other emerging economies such as Brazil and South Africa, Turkey is trying to have a transactional relationship with the West in its own unique way. However, Turkey is not fully integrated into the Western-based global order. From Libya to Nagorno-Karabakh, from Syria to Russia, Erdoğan's Turkey disagrees with the Western priorities. These differences, combined with Erdoğan's ruthless and shrewd personality, makes it very difficult for the West to engage with Turkey. Nevertheless, Turkey is indispensable for the West. Whether it is Turkey’s role brokering the grain deal between Russia and Ukraine, or the exchange of prisoners, Turkey has become a linchpin for regional and global security. Should Turkey continue to drift towards Russia and China, it will create a bigger problem for the Western political and security system. Therefore, it remains critical for European countries and the United States to engage with Erdoğan's Turkey, focusing on priorities rather than differences. How should Western countries engage with Turkey?After the election, according to diplomatic practice, Erdoğan will make his first foreign trip to Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Azerbaijan. After that, one of Erdoğan’s first visits is likely to be to the UK. The Turkish President will be seeking support by sending a message of confidence to financial centres, especially London, regarding the economic instability in his country. Many experts pointed out before the elections that the country was headed for a balance of payments crisis and current account deficit.[2] The UK and the EU should support Turkey’s efforts towards financial stability. Instead of Turkey borrowing from China and Arab countries, Turkey should be offered easier credit opportunities. During the credit negotiations, Western countries should steer Turkey away from Erdoğanomics towards an orthodox rule-based economic governance. This could prevent the financial crisis from deepening. The customs union agreement between Turkey and the EU, and even the Ankara agreement, Turkey's association agreement with the EU, should be updated.[3] The UK and Turkey should also update the free trade agreement by adding the service sector, agriculture, investments, and digital economy, which are excluded under the EU’s Customs Union agreement. These steps will contribute to keeping Turkey within the Western economic system. The West should increase military co-operation with Turkey and prevent Ankara’s further turn towards Moscow and Beijing. In September 2017, Turkey purchased a Russian S400 air defence system. As a response to the purchase, the US imposed sanctions on Turkey under a section of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) and excluded Turkey from the F-35 programme.[4] The F-16 modernisation deal by the Biden administration would be an important step in attempts to keep Turkey in the Western security bloc. Turkey is currently in talks with the UK’s Roll Royce for the transfer of engine technology in its first national jet, TF-X.[5] But both sides are tired of protracted negotiations. Taking a concrete step in these negotiations by clarifying issues such as Intellectual Property (IP) rights would prevent Turkey searching for a Russian or Chinese alternative. The importance of continued military co-operation between Turkey and the EU countries has become more important during the Russian war in Ukraine. Both sides should increase their military cooperation by focusing on their joint interests. Turkey's own military technologies such as Bayraktar drones should be included in NATO exercises. Notable watch points – Syria and the PKKKurdish People's Defense Units (YPG) forces in Syria continue to be a major challenge in the military and political relations between Turkey and the West. While the West sees the YPG as an important partner in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Ankara considers the YPG a branch of the The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and a terrorist organization. After the elections, Erdoğan is likely to push ending the YPG's presence in the region by cooperating with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad through Russia. The West should establish a joint mechanism with Turkey to address Ankara’s security concerns, and in return Turkey should not disrupt the fight against ISIS. Turkey and Western countries should calibrate their relations with Syria in a coordinated manner. The UK could play a mediating role between Turkey and the PKK behind closed doors, as it has done in the past. With local elections in Turkey in a year's time and Erdoğan’s political alliance with the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Erdoğan is prevented from progressing peace talks with the Kurds. But behind closed doors, Turkey should be encouraged to take steps in respect to the Kurdish issue. British officials should be mindful of the difference between  the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and the Kurdish movement's political leader Selahettin Demirtaş. Turkey should be urged to release all political prisoners, including Demirtaş in private meetings. Non-governmental interventionsLess ambitious, lower-level interventions also do sometimes work to put pressure on the Turkish government. Foreign academics, writers, journalists and artists should engage with Turkey. We need to keep talking about the human rights violations, the growing level of authoritarianism as well as the thousands of dissidents currently in jail. The way to help is by going to Turkey, speaking out and writing about these issues. This approach is better than excluding Turkey and pushing the country further towards Russia and China. Engagement with Turkey is in the best interests of the West and Turkey too. Emre Caliskan is a FPC Research Fellow. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not reflect the views of The Foreign Policy Centre. Image by [1] Fareed Zakaria, Turkey Points to A Global Trend: Free and Unfair Elections, May 2023,[2]  Yilmaz: Turkey Headed For Balance of Payments Crisis, Bloomberg, May 2023,[3] İlke Toygür, A New Way Forward for EU-Turkey Relations, Carnegie Europe, January 2022,[4] Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State, The United States Sanctions Turkey Under CAATSA 231, Press Statement, US Embassy & Consulate in Greece, December 2020,,president%2C%20and%20other%20SSB%20officers.[5] Joseph Trevithick, Our First Full Look At Turkey’s New TF-X Stealthy Fighter, The Drive, March 2023, [post_title] => How should the West engage with Turkey during Erdoğan’s third Presidential term? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => how-to-engage-with-erdogans-turkey [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2023-05-30 16:34:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2023-05-30 15:34:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )[2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 6882 [post_author] => 48 [post_date] => 2023-05-10 00:00:32 [post_date_gmt] => 2023-05-09 23:00:32 [post_content] => Turkey’s strong man Recep Tayyip Erdoğan faces the biggest elections challenge for the first time over his two-decade rule. Whether Erdoğan wins or loses, Turkey is likely to face political instability after the presidential and parliamentary elections that will be held on May 14. As it currently stands, it is difficult to predict the outcome of the elections, and there are conflicting polls. According to some observers including Economist Intelligence Unit, Erdoğan will either win the election by a slim margin or contest the results.[1] Based on the statements from senior leaders in Erdoğan's ruling party (Justice and Development Party, AKP), it is very likely that Erdoğan will challenge the results if he loses the elections. The narrative for this has already begun. Turkey's Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has claimed that the West, particularly the US, is using the tightly contested elections to stage a political coup. In response to AKP supporters chanting, “We will shoot at your command, we will die at your command,” at a campaign rally in Kayseri, the National Defence Minister Hulusi Akar replied, “Wait, the time will come for that too.”[2] If Erdoğan winsEven if Erdoğan wins the presidential elections, the AKP and its coalition, is still likely to lose its parliamentary majority. This is the first time Turkey will face such a scenario since the new presidential system came into force in June 2018. In the likelihood of being unable to pass new legislation through the Parliament, it is expected that Erdoğan will rule the country using executive orders and regulations. The opposition would likely challenge Erdoğan’s decisions in the Constitutional Court, increasing the prospects of political instability in the country. Another risk factor for Erdoğan's rule is his health. There have been serious concerns about his well-being for a while, with Erdoğan having had surgery on his lower intestine in 2011. The opposition also claims that Erdoğan suffers from epilepsy. The President has frequently gone on record to deny reports about his health. When visiting a cancer patient in 2012, Erdoğan signalled that he previously suffered from colon cancer.[3] In late April 2023, Erdoğan cancelled three days of in person campaigning, announcing he had a “serious stomach flu” after he fell ill during a live televised interview.[4] Some experts in Ankara believe that Erdoğan will not be able to finish his second presidential term in office due to his current state of health.[5] The biggest risk for Erdoğan’s rule is the present economic situation in Turkey. Since the end of 2021, Erdoğan's unorthodox economic policies have kept interest rates low by allowing the depreciation of the Turkish lira against the dollar, aiming to boost exports and support domestic consumption. The Erdoğan-controlled central bank is trying to prevent the further depreciation of the Turkish lira ahead of the elections.[6] This has come at a cost. The Turkish central bank's net international reserves reduced by 5.4 billion USD in the week of April 14-21, decreasing to 8.3 billion USD. The net reserve excluding swaps was "minus" (-) 49.5 billion USD.[7] If Erdoğan is re-elected and continues his unorthodox economic policies, the financial crisis in Turkey is likely to deepen, especially following the devastating impact of the February 2023 earthquakes. According to JPMorgan, Turkey's lira (TL) is likely to drop sharply and could near 30 TL to the dollar after the elections (today, one USD dollar is trading at around 19.5 TL).[8] Turkey's worsening economic crisis is likely to bring capital controls. The other possibility is that it triggers a political crisis, instigating a challenge to Erdogan’s political leadership during his future second term in the presidential system. If the opposition winsIf the opposition wins the presidential elections, Erdoğan's repressive regime will collapse, and more orthodox economic policies are very likely to be implemented. Separation of powers, rule of law and judicial independence as well as fundamental rights and freedoms are likely to be restored in the country. Nevertheless, Turkey is very likely to face a political crisis in the post-Erdoğan era. What unites the opposition is anti-Erdoğanism. The six-party alliance includes the social democratic main opposition Republican’s People’s Party (CHP), the nationalist Good (IYI) party, the Future (Gelecek) Party of Ahmet Davutoğlu, who was a prime minister during Erdoğan's presidency, the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) party of Ali Babacan, Erdoğan's former economy minister, and the Felicity Party, the last party of the National Outlook Movement, in which Erdoğan was a member when he was a mayor of Istanbul in between 1994 and 1998. The Kurdish movement’s party, the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), is not in the alliance but is backing the opposition candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu against Erdoğan. During Erdoğan's rule, independent institutions in Turkey have been weakened, if not completely disappeared and politicised. The presidential system depends entirely on Erdoğan and his charisma. The Turkish Parliament is almost irrelevant. Neither Erdoğan's party nor senior party members have power in the Turkish parliamentary political system. In the post Erdoğan period, there is a need to build a new Turkey with independent institutions, especially within the bureaucracy and the judiciary. The members of the anti-Erdoğan opposition, which have very little in common with each other, are very likely to face significant challenges in establishing a new system after Erdoğan’s rule in Turkey. Indeed, Turkey is very likely to face political instability as was the case in the periods after previous strong leaders of Turkey, such as Adnan Menderes and Turgut Özal. According to Turkish media reports, CHP is likely to determine the economic policies after the elections. However, Bilge Yilmaz from IYI Party, a finance professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, is reported to be due to take up the post of economy minister.[9] IYI Party and CHP advocate increasing public spending.[10] Meanwhile, Ali Babacan is expected to be the vice president in charge of the Turkish economy.[11] His party publicly opposes further public spending and calls for fiscal discipline.[12] In the event of a disagreement among coalition partners, for instance in relation economic policymaking, the heads of the six parties, who will become the president and deputy presidents of the new system, are expected to come together to find solutions to political problems. The opposition will have to shoulder the burden of Erdoğan's collapsed economy. Kılıçdaroğlu argues that a total of 418 billion USD has been transferred since 2002 to private companies under the AKP governments through government contracts and other deals. He claims five conglomerates have benefited from multibillion-dollar contracts from infrastructure projects to energy, pledging to nationalise the assets of the ‘gang of five’. Based on statements by the opposition parties, in a post-Erdoğan system many assets and services will be nationalised. Government contracts are likely to be cancelled or expropriated. If Kılıçdaroğlu goes after the 418 billion USD state contracts, this is very likely to trigger a serious economic crisis in Turkey as well as political instability. Even if economic issues were relatively easy to solve in the six-party alliance system, other challenges for Turkey will remain, including the Syrian refuges and the Kurdish issue. Will the opposition be able to send Syrian refuges back home as promised? If the nationalist IYI Party controls the Interior Ministry as reports suggest, will the opposition block continue Erdoğan’s oppressive anti-Kurdish policies, or will they reduce the pressure on the Kurdish movement by releasing their senior party members from prison, including its former chair Selahattin Demirtaş? Once in power, the opposition aims to improve relations with the European Union (EU) and the United States. Nevertheless, differences between Turkey and the West on Cyprus, Greece and even Libya would continue. Turkey is likely to continue its balancing relations with Russia and China. The difference over the opposition parties in Syria, especially the Kurdish presence in the region, is very like to remain a divisive issue between Turkey and the West. Kılıçdaroğlu wants to have a new refugee deal with EU. To achieve that, Turkey would loosen controls on its borders, leading to an influx of refugees into the EU countries as Erdoğan has done in the past. The May 14 general and presidential elections may bring about an end to the Erdoğan’s rule in Turkey. But this is unlikely to be the end of Turkey's economic and political instability. Emre Caliskan is a FPC Research Fellow. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not reflect the views of The Foreign Policy Centre. [1] Economist Intelligence Unit, Turkey’s critical elections: What an opposition win would mean for the country, April 2023,[2] Cumhuriyet, Hulusi Akar'dan 'Vur de vuralım, öl de ölelim' sloganlarına yanıt: Onun da zamanı gelecek, April 2023,[3] Haberturk, "Yani aynı hastadaşız", May 2012,[4] AP News, Turkey’s Erdogan cancels 3rd day of election appearances, April 2023,[5] Interview with a senior journalist based in Ankara 4, April 2023; and Interview with a deputy chair of a Turkish opposition party, 4 April 2023.[6] Beril Akman, Turkey Holds Off from Rate Cut to Spare Lira Before Election, Bloomberg, April 2023,[7] Naki Bakir, Swap hariç net rezerv eksi (-) 49,5 milyar dolar, Dünya, May 2023,[8] Marc Jones, JPMorgan sees Turkey lira diving towards 30 per dollar after elections, Reuters, April 2023,,to%20its%20unorthodox%20economic%20policies[9] Kerim Karakaya, Beril Akman and Onur Ant, A Wharton Professor Pledges Revolution in Turkish Economy After Elections, Bloomberg, March 2023,[10] Haberturk, Cumhurbaşkanı adayı Kılıçdaroğlu: En düşük memur maaşı 21 bin 265 lira olacak, May 2023,; CHP Genel Başkanı Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Değirmenköy Buğday ve Mazot Desteği Dağıtım Törenine Katıldı, CHP Webpage, 16 September 2022, (last accessed 7 May 2023); Meral Akşener'den 100 bin öğretmen atama sözü, Dünya, 7 May 2023.[11] Para Analiz, Reuters: Millet İttifakı Babacan’ı ekonominin başına getirmeyi planlıyor, March 2023,[12] Sema Kizilarslan, DEVA Partisi “Ekonomi ve Finans Politikaları Eylem Planı”nı açıkladı: Hedef enflasyonu tek haneye çekmek, Medyascope, Februray 2022, [post_title] => Turkey likely to face political instability post elections [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => turkey-likely-to-face-political-instability-post-elections [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2023-05-11 20:33:48 [post_modified_gmt] => 2023-05-11 19:33:48 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )[3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 2658 [post_author] => 48 [post_date] => 2018-06-22 10:01:38 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-06-22 10:01:38 [post_content] => Turkey will hold snap presidential and parliamentary elections on 24 June 2018 under the shadow of a deepening currency crisis and ongoing Emergency Rule. The Turkish Lira has lost more than a fifth of its value against the dollar this year. Also, many observers believe that elections are taking place under unfair and unfree conditions.[1] Imprisonment of Selahattin Demirtas, the presidential candidate of pro-Kurdish the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), without a charge raises questions about the impartiality of the election process. The current Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is widely expected to win the elections. However, for the first time he is under pressure from the worsening Turkish economy and increasingly charismatic Muharrem Ince, the main opposition Republican People's Party’s (CHP) presidential candidate.Economic difficulties have historically triggered coups and have changed the behaviour of the electorate which has eventually influenced the direction of Turkish politics. Let us consider the relationship between previous military coups and the financial crises. The 1960 coup, the 1971 military intervention and the 1980 coup took place as a result of conflict over economic policy making. Following the balance of payment crises, slowing down of economic progress compared to the previous five-year period and political difficulties in implementing fiscal programmes, the military staged a coup and implemented a new Economic Reform Programme.[2] Only the 28 February 1997 memorandum against the Welfare Party-led coalition government does not fit this trend. However, the Welfare Party’s victory, first in 1994 local elections and later in the 1995 general elections, was related directly to the state if the economy. The party came to power following the 1994 financial crises, as the Turkish Lira lost almost 70 percent of its value against the US dollar in the first quarter. The Turkish Central Bank heavily intervened in the foreign exchange market, resulting in the loss of more than half of its international reserves.[3]Turkey has also witnessed political crises and weak governments in the 1990s. Turkey had 13 prime ministers and 17 foreign ministers and 12 finance ministers between 1980 and 2002.  Following the 1980 coup, the State transformed the Turkish economy, integrating it into the world economy, by creating a new set of institutions, rules and norms that would help the export-oriented economy. However, Turkish industrial policy and new institutions were undermined at the hands of populist politicians. Economic slowdowns either pushed the governments to take an authoritarian approach or led to a succession of weak governments. This created a political vacuum which was mostly filled by the military.Erdogan’s election victory in 2002 was also focused on the economy. Previously, alternative parties had shown themselves not only incapable of dealing with economic disaster but also unable to form stable coalitions at a time when effective leadership was vital.  In 2002 voters were deeply frustrated with government corruption. The AKP, or the AK Party as it was formally known, is a clever abbreviation of its Turkish name: ak means clean (or white) in Turkish, allowing the party to brand itself as the clean party.It is true that the AKP’s economic management was a success. There have been significant improvements in public health, transportation, public services the economy, and a new middle class has emerged. Under the AKP, Turkish GDP (Gross Domestic Product) has tripled, reaching almost US$800 billion in 2014, up from US$231 billion in 2002[4]. In addition, Turkey’s inflation rate fell from 29.7% in 2002 to 6.2% in 2012.[5] The economy experienced what can only be described as a ‘golden age’ between 2002 and 2007, with an average 7% growth rate.[6] Thanks to this economic stability, by 2005 Turkey had removed six zeros from its national currency, with the establishment of the new Lira. This was a sign of optimism in Turkey that the economy was on the right track.By 2008, optimism disappeared first, in relation to the economy, and then in relation to Turkish politics. During the financial crisis, the Turkish economy performed much better than many European economies, but it still shrank. In the following years, structural problems such as a strong current account deficit, high unemployment and economic growth based on domestic demand especially in the construction sector, raised concerns. However, Erdogan still managed to navigate the Turkish economy with two key strategies. First, his party has continued to implement tight public finance management. Second, despite all the political crises, he gave confidence to the international market about the stability of the economy and Turkish politics.Today, this confidence is under attack. In his last visit to the UK in May 2018, Erdogan signalled that he maintains a tight grip on the economy.[7] Following his statement, the Turkish Lira hit at a record low against the dollar for the year. Later, Erdogan sent his market-friendly Minister, Mehmet Simsek, to London, aiming to reassure investors about the direction of monetary policy. Also, the Turkish Central Bank increased the interest rate to stabilise the Turkish Lira, against his will. Erdogan previously described high interest rates as “the mother and father of all evils,” saying they slow investment.[8]In addition to the economy, Erdogan is also facing a political challenge, increasing the popularity of main opposition presidential candidate Muharrem İnce. When İnce announced his candidacy, Erdogan was expected to win the Turkish Presidential elections in the first round. Thanks to his lively campaign and charismatic style, many election polls and international observers think that Turkish Presidential elections will go into the second round and İnce will be the strongest candidate against Erdogan.[9] İnce promises to lift the restrictions on fundamental freedoms and restore the rule of law in Turkey.Having said that, Erdogan is likely to be elected as the President of the new system. His core support group was not affected by the weakening of Turkish Lira. According to a report, 78% AKP voters were not expecting a financial crisis in Turkey. 65% of AKP voters believe that the Turkish Lira is losing its value because of an ‘international operation’ against Turkey.[10] However, Erdogan might lose his party’s majority in Parliament. According to the new Turkish Presidential system, Parliament still holds an important place. For example, the Parliament has the power to overturn a Presidential decree or alter the budget with a simple majority. If the pro-Kurdish HDP manages to pass the 10 percent national threshold to enter the Parliament, the 60 seats would jeopardise Mr Erdogan's chances of a majority in the new 600-seat Parliament. Subsequently, Erdogan’s power can be challenged.In this scenario, Turkey could stage a fresh election. Erdogan’s ally, the chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahceli and some other AKP members have already started to talk about the possibility of another early election.[11] This scenario would also bring political instability and eventually a financial crisis. At a time when Erdogan lost the Parliamentary majority to form a one-party government in 2015, he drifted into the nationalist line, taking a harder position with Turkey’s Kurdish problem. In the event that he loses the Parliamentary majority, Erdogan would use the financial crisis to call another election, asking to restore stability in the Turkish economy.Regardless of the political and economic challenges, Erdogan seems to dominate Turkey’s politics in the post-elections. But this does not mean the end of politics in Turkey. When the Presidential referendum passed in 2017 with Erdogan’s victory last year, for many this was the ended any hope for change in Turkey.[12] However, this election has been notably lively and brought hope back to Turkish politics. Turkey’s election has many candidates, similar to the 1990s. Despite the shortcomings of Turkish politics, people still believe in change via elections. Maybe this time, the change might come via elections, not the financial crisis.[1] Shivan Fazil Sabr, Turkey’s Snap Elections: A Level playing field, Open Democracy, 24 May 2018, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Election Observation Mission, Republic of Turkey, Early Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, 24 June 2018, Interim Report, 24 May-13 June, 2018, last visited 20 June 2018,[2] Alper H. Yagci, 2018, The political economy of coups d’etat: a general survey and a local theory for Turkey, Turkish Studies, 19:1, 72-96, p. 89[3] Fatih Ozatay, 2000, The 1994 currency crisis in Turkey, The Journal of Policy Reform, 3:4, p. 327[4] Turkish Statistical Institute, (last visited 01/06/2018).[5] Huzur ve istikrarla Türkiye’nin Yol Haritası, November 1, 2015, Elections, Party Manifesto, p. 123, haberler/iste-ak-partinin-secim-beyannamesi/78619#1 (last visited 1/06/2018).[6] TOBB Economic Report 2008, (last visited 1/06/2018), p. 15.[7] Guy Johnson and James Hertling, Erdogan Plans to Tighten His Grip on Turkey’s Economy, Bloomberg, 15 May 2018[8] Adam Samson, Lira rallies sharply after Turkish central bank raises lending rate, Financial Times, 7 June 2018.[9] Kareem Shaheen, Erdoğan has Turkey in his palm as key elections loom, Guardian, 20 June 2018.[10] Seçmen Kümeleri ve AKP Seçmeni, Mayıs 2018, Konda Research. Last visited on 20 June 2018,[11] AK Partili Şentop: Erken Seçim Son Çare, Milliyet, 20 June 2018, Turkey could stage fresh elections if alliance loses parliament: Erdogan all, Reuters, 20 June 2018[12] Dexter Filkins, Turkey’s Vote Makes Erdogan Effectively A Dictator, The New Yorker, 17 April 2017. [post_title] => Turkey’s election ahead: A change or continuity? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => turkeys-election-ahead-a-change-or-continuity [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-06-13 15:50:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-06-13 15:50:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ))

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