Turkey voted for strong presidential power

Turkey voted for strong presidential power

Current President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, following the snap presidential elections, has retained his post, largely due to the current foreign policy vector. The very fact of snap elections means that Erdogan seeks to strengthen his positions, despite the fact that the electoral process was going on in a very tense time for the republic.

What awaits Turkey in the next five years? First, the current foreign policy will be preserved. It is aimed at the rapprochement of Ankara and Moscow, which suits the moderate nationalist circles of the Turkish political establishment (including the Good Party) supporting Erdogan. Actually, the states with a strong presidential power tend to suit Russia and are considered to be the most convenient partners of the country. According to Ankara, the advantageous relations with Moscow allow Turkey to maneuver successfully in the foreign relations with the Western partners, which in fact allows Turkey to manifest itself as one of the centers of influence in the Middle East region. In an interview to Interfax, the director of the Center for the Study of Contemporary Turkey, Amur Hajiyev, noted that ‘a Turkish voter certainly appreciated that Erdogan drew conclusions from the events of the crisis period in the Russian-Turkish relations, when Turkish hotels were forced to close without tourists from Russia, and agriculture suffered huge losses because of the loss of the Russian market share.”

At the same time, Erdogan’s charisma allows him to speak with citizens of the republic in an extremely understandable language, overcoming the distance between the people and authorities.

Turkey awaits the long-expected abolition of the emergency rule, introduced after the military coup attempted in 2016. Erdogan's positions were severely shaken by the coup’s aftermath two years ago, which was accompanied by mass arrests, including representatives of the opposition, journalists and university professors. The need to abolish the emergency rule was evident a year ago, but Erdogan preferred to keep this peculiar ace in order to use it in the most profitable moment from the point of view of the domestic policy. At the same time, the abolition of the emergency rule is a kind of signal for the southeastern provinces of Turkey, populated mainly by Kurds. Despite the continuation of the anti-terrorist operation in Syria and Iraq, the president makes it clear that the resumption of a peaceful dialogue with Turkish Kurds is necessary.

The most interesting is the situation inside the parliament of the republic. Despite the fact that Erdogan retains power, the parliamentary opposition will intensify. For the first time in the history of modern Turkey, a strong coalition has gathered against the president, which can become capable. Aware of the low probability of winning the presidential election, the leader of the Republican People's Party, Muharrem Ince relies on the coalition within the parliament, using a real support from the people, as evidenced by numerous street rallies on the eve of the election day. The opposition has suggested repeatedly that Erdogan appointed snap elections because he was not sure of his victory in 2019, as the new opposition leaders gain popularity very quickly. Now Erdogan, most likely, will have to make the political concessions so that the alignment of seats and coalitions in the parliament looks as objective as possible. This will nullify any likely mass actions.

Finally, having concentrated all the power, Erdogan will try to solve cardinally the number of accumulated problems in the Turkish economy, among which the high level of unemployment. According to the Institute of Statistics of Turkey (TurkStat), the current unemployment rate is more than 10%, and among youth - 19%. As a result of Erdogan's policy after the events of 2016, foreign investors began to invest less in the economy of the republic. Undoubtedly, the Trans-Anatolian (TANAP), which was put into operation, and the Trans-Adriatic (TAP) gas corridors will help Turkey to promote the investment revival. Nevertheless, the leadership of the republic has to pay attention to another unimportant aspect of no small importance, namely the national currency that is becoming cheaper. It has depreciated by more than 240% against the dollar over the past five years.

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