There are many indications that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s end is approaching, especially following his catastrophic failure to overcome opponents’ criticisms of his repressive policies, the economic losses incurred by the Turkish economy in the wake of the corona pandemic, his declining popularity, and his condemnation of the proposal for early elections. Could the upcoming elections eliminate his expansionist dreams?
Opposition Felicity Party head Temel Karamollaoglu declared the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) inability to solve the economic crises facing the country, adding that after the decline in popularity of the Turkish president and his party, the upcoming elections will write their end.
“This situation cannot continue any longer. The fate of the Justice and Development Party, which is unable to solve one crisis, will be like the fate of the coalition that was buried in the ballot box after the economic crisis in the year 2001, which was one of the major crises in the history of the republic. So after this crisis, coalition partners were unable to exceed the 10% needed to cross the electoral threshold, at which point the Justice and Development Party won power after obtaining a majority of the votes. Currently, the ruling party’s fate will be broken at the ballot boxes,” Karamollaoglu said, according to Turkish opposition newspaper Yeniçağ.
Turkey is facing many crises due to the deteriorating situation as a result of Erdogan’s repressive policies, which caused the outbreak of clashes and defections from within the ranks of the AKP after its failure on the political level and the loss of opportunities needed to compensate the country for the huge losses that it has suffered. Erdogan’s policies have failed to meet the demands of the street.
The economic crisis was the largest cause for the situation, including the collapse of the Turkish lira, while poverty and unemployment have increased, which heralds the end of Erdogan’s reign and the unprecedented decline in the popularity of the ruling party.
There is no doubt that the financial crisis caused by the pandemic will hit Turkey. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects the country’s economy to shrink by 5% for 2020, leading to a high rate of inflation that reached 11.39% in May, while the weakening lira has made imports more expensive. Unemployment has reached 17.2%, while other forecasts indicate a possibility of unemployment reaching 30%.
The lira has lost about 12% of its value this year due to the repercussions of the corona crisis, amid fears of depleting the country’s foreign exchange reserves and the needs of foreign financing. The lira fell by as much as 1% to 6.77 against the dollar, before reducing its losses to 0.7%, due to low oil prices and low domestic demand in light of the pandemic, according to Reuters.
Regarding the decline of Erdogan’s popularity in Turkish circles due to the nature of his erroneous policies, Turkish affairs researcher Mohamed Rabie El-Daihy told the Reference that Erdogan’s policies eventually led to the rejection by many of those close to these policies, including by Ahmed Davutoglu and Ali Babacan, who was one of the main pillars of Turkey’s economic revival before Erdogan began governing Turkey alone. This decline in popularity was noticed in the last municipal elections in which the AKP lost many seats to the opposition.
Daihy said that the parliamentary elections also confirmed this decline in popularity, as the AKP was unable to form a government on its own. At the beginning of 2020, party members demanded the necessity of taking measures that would revive the party’s popularity again, in addition to a request by Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli to amend six laws related to the elections and parties that would tighten the screws on the opposition and new parties in Ankara. This would include amending the conditions for running for president to tightening the screws on the new parties, and basing winning elections on obtaining the highest number of votes, abolishing the 50% +1 condition currently in place.
The upcoming elections in Turkey will be fiercer and more violent in light of Erdogan’s personal ambition to remain in power and achieve his goal of reviving the Ottoman Caliphate through his colonial projects in the region, Daihy stressed. He added that the decline in Erdogan’s popularity likely means that his party will not win a majority in the upcoming elections, so Erdogan will likely adopt his repressive methods of controlling parties and citizens by issuing laws aimed at restricting freedoms and ensuring that he remains in power as long as possible.