What should the world expect from Erdogan now?

Quick thinking

May 28, 2023

What should the world expect from Erdogan now?

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Atlantic Council

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They are staying the course. A majority of Turkish voters supported President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sunday’s run-off election for another five years, extending his twenty-year term in office. But the vote for continuity comes at a time of great upheaval in and around Turkey, which is still recovering from a devastating earthquake, dealing with a financial crisis and grappling with security issues in its region. Our experts have chosen to share their insights on what to expect from another Erdogan term.

Today’s expert response

  • Daphne Arslan (b.@defnesadiklar):: Senior Director of Atlantic Council and Turkey Programs in Turkey, former Chief Economist of Turkey and Senior Energy Policy Advisor at the US Embassy in Ankara
  • Yevgeniya Gaber@GaberYevgeniya):: Non-resident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council in Turkey and former foreign policy advisor to the Prime Minister of Ukraine
  • Rich Ozen (@RichOutzen):: A senior fellow at the Atlantic Council in Turkey and a former military and civilian adviser at the US State Department

Main place

  • Erdogan won 52 percent of the vote over rival Kemal Kilisadaroglu and combined the parties that support him to win a parliamentary majority, meaning Turkey will enter another phase of “centralized decision-making” but “political stability.” Bay He tells us.
  • “Turkey’s ambivalent stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, developing trade and economic cooperation with the former while supporting the latter’s self-defense, is unlikely to change,” he explains. Yevgenia. But protected by his power “Erdogan may play hardball at this point,” she added, asking Russia for more negotiations on grain exports from Ukraine and pushing both sides for a ceasefire..
  • He explains that Turkey’s foreign policy will continue with its strategic semi-independence and its balance and hedge between the great powers. Rich. Christmas “Sweden’s chances of joining NATO are waiting.” In particular, Sweden’s new anti-terror law will be fully implemented next month, he added.

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Rethinking the economy?

  • At home, Erdogan’s top priority is the Turkish economy, which is currently struggling with slow growth, low reserves and high inflation due to the government’s low interest rate policy. “If the Turkish economic group is able to return to credible and more normal economic policies that can correct the current problems, Bay He says The country can become a destination for foreign capital.
  • In his victory speech, Erdogan made a reference to this year’s 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey and discussed the Turkish economy at length. Bay He interpreted it as a sign of “a determination to provide a stronger road map for the economy.”
  • It calls for “establishing strong economic parameters and implementing critical structural reforms.” Bay He added to reestablish “confidence in the Turkish economy for both domestic and foreign investors.”
  • As Ankara seeks to replenish depleted central bank reserves, expect Russia to rank high among Turkey’s economic partners, he said. Yevgenia. Erdogan’s message at the end of the campaign:[Turkey’s] Relations with Russia are no less important than the United States. No wonder Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Erdogan on his victory – even before the official results were announced.
  • But for Ukraine, Yevgenia Erdogan expressed the possibility of continuing “Turkish military support and ongoing projects in the defense sector.”

Contesting the zone beyond NATO

  • “Syria is seen as a personal legacy for Erdogan,” he says. Rich. The President of Turkey says that the People’s Protection Units (YGP), which is affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, wants to facilitate the return of a significant number of refugees to Syria by removing the border from Turkey.
  • Rich He warns “Big new [military] The campaign against the YPG this year or next cannot be ruled out. But if Turkey can sufficiently weaken the YPG and bring Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to negotiations through drone and artillery strikes alone, it can forget about a major ground operation.
  • Turkey’s security threat goes beyond Syria Rich It points to Libya, the Caucasus, and the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas—all of which require clear negotiations with regional powers. “In this ‘zone beyond NATO’, for Turkey’s security, he said, “Erdogan is open to negotiations and may occasionally shake the deal.”

Further reading

Related Professionals:
Defne Arslan,
Rich OwenAnd
Yevgeniya Gaber

Image: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan with his wife Emin Erdogan address supporters during the second round of presidential elections in Istanbul, Turkey, May 28, 2023. Editors – This image was provided by a third party. No sales, no archives.


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