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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

After Turkey election win, what issues does Erdogan face subsequent? | Elections Information


Istanbul, Turkey – Following his third presidential victory, Recep Tayyip Erdogan will sit down at his desk to sort out a number of fast points going through Turkey.

Foremost within the president’s in-tray shall be the financial system and easy methods to sort out the nation’s ongoing monetary crises.

Erdogan efficiently took the main target away from a cost-of-living disaster in the course of the election marketing campaign – making important hikes to pensions and salaries, offering reductions to family vitality payments, all whereas shifting the controversy to points corresponding to safety and household values.

However the Turkish financial system is in dangerous form, and in his victory speech on Sunday night time, Erdogan highlighted inflation as the first drawback going through the nation.

“Resolving the issues attributable to the worth will increase and by inflation is essentially the most pressing subject of the approaching days,” he advised supporters exterior the presidential palace in Ankara.

“Fixing them shouldn’t be troublesome for us. Weren’t we those who proved this throughout my time as prime minister?” Erdogan added, referring to his 11-year spell as premier earlier than he turned president in 2014.

Inflation peaked at 85 p.c late final 12 months, dropping to 44 p.c final month, though unbiased economists dispute the official figures and say it’s at 105 p.c.

Rate of interest coverage

The worth of Turkey’s foreign money, which the federal government had protected by way of promoting international foreign money reserves, is dropping.

The lira hit a file low on Monday morning of 20.06 to the US greenback, having misplaced nearly 80 p.c of its worth over the past 5 years.

Many economists blame this largely on Erdogan’s unorthodox coverage of decreasing rates of interest, which have been almost halved for the reason that finish of 2021, as a way of preventing inflation.

Timothy Ash, a Turkey skilled at London’s BlueBay Asset Administration, mentioned the foreign money’s present degree was “simply not sustainable”.

He added that the central financial institution “has been blowing by way of reserves to maintain the lira comparatively secure within the run-up to the election to make sure an Erdogan win … With restricted FX reserves and massively detrimental actual rates of interest the stress on the lira is heavy”.

However Emre Peker, Europe director on the Eurasia Group, mentioned Erdogan is prone to see Sunday’s victory as an endorsement of his financial insurance policies, which the president argues will make Turkey’s financial system stronger in the long term.

“Regardless of the very best inflation we’ve seen in years, regardless of important stress on the lira, regardless of excessive unemployment and folks’s considerations, [in] successful the election he’ll really feel fairly vindicated,” Peker mentioned.

Overseas influx

Peker added that Erdogan was motivated by a “want to wean Turkey off its total financial dependency on Western companions”.

Turkey has been helped in current months by cash from Russia and Gulf nations. Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have deposited billions of {dollars} with the Turkish central financial institution or arrange multibillion-dollar funding funds.

Russia has deferred funds for pure gasoline in addition to offering billions in direction of Turkey’s first nuclear energy station.

“The financial system has relied on financing from Russia, investments from the Gulf and that’s an space the place Erdogan’s going to proceed to focus,” Peker mentioned.

He added that the subsequent three to 4 months can be comparatively calm for the financial system as summer season tourism revenues circulate, a weakening lira makes exports extra aggressive and there’s low home vitality demand.

However by the autumn, Erdogan might face stress to change his financial insurance policies.

“The present financial dynamics received’t be capable to maintain Turkey’s wants,” Peker mentioned. “Turkey will want extra international inflows to handle its exterior funds and, given the detrimental rates of interest, that’s laborious to maintain.”

Western relations

One other topic requiring the president’s pressing consideration as he begins his five-year time period shall be Turkey’s relations with its Western companions, particularly the problem of Sweden becoming a member of NATO.

Turkey and Hungary are the one NATO members holding up Stockholm’s bid to affix the defence alliance, made within the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February final 12 months.

Sweden and the US have mentioned they count on the membership challenge to be resolved by the point NATO leaders meet in Lithuania in July.

Lower than two weeks in the past, Erdogan reaffirmed his opposition to Sweden becoming a member of. “We’re not prepared for Sweden proper now,” he mentioned, citing Ankara’s considerations over Stockholm’s stance on what Turkey has labeled “terrorist” teams.

“If Erdogan continues to stall sign-off, I count on a significant disaster in relations with the West,” mentioned Ash, though he added that he anticipates a compromise on Sweden’s accession.

Erdogan “extracted no matter political capital he may from this pre-election, now he has received there’s solely draw back by delaying the inevitable. So I count on Sweden to get NATO membership on the NATO summit,” Ash mentioned.

Disputes with the West are additionally doubtless over human rights.

In his victory speech, Erdogan confirmed no signal of compromising over these thought of “terrorists” by his authorities, and mentioned he wouldn’t launch Selahattin Demirtas, a number one Kurdish politician imprisoned since 2016.

The European Courtroom of Human Rights dominated in 2020 that Turkey should free Demirtas, saying his incarceration was for political causes, however the Turkish authorities alleges that Demirtas has ties to the Kurdistan Employees’ Occasion (PKK), which has fought a struggle in opposition to the Turkish state since 1984.

The PKK is taken into account a “terrorist” group in Turkey, the European Union and the US.

On the home entrance, Erdogan faces the large process of rebuilding the southern provinces hit by earthquakes in February that killed greater than 50,000.

The price of the catastrophe has been put at greater than $100bn by the United Nations Growth Programme. Erdogan, who was backed by a lot of the area within the elections, has pledged to construct 319,000 properties inside a 12 months.

Given a major exhibiting by nationalist voters within the elections and the extensively held want for the repatriation of Syrians to their dwelling nation, Erdogan will even be below stress to point out indicators of returning refugees.

“It’s our responsibility to meet our residents’ expectations about this challenge by way of methods and strategies that befit our nation and nation,” he mentioned on Sunday night time.

Turkey’s migration company has mentioned some 554,000 Syrians had been returned and Erdogan mentioned one other million would go to Syria inside a 12 months as new housing is constructed.

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