Erdogan: What 5 more years of Erdogan’s rule means for Turkey

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan received re-election in a run-off Sunday, following a nail-biter first spherical two weeks earlier. Having secured one other 5 years, Erdogan now faces a bunch of home challenges in a deeply divided nation, from a battered financial system to stress for the repatriation of Syrian refugees to the necessity to rebuild after a devastating earthquake.
This is a have a look at the challenges forward.
Financial system
Inflation in Turkey hit a staggering 85% in October earlier than easing to 44% final month – though impartial consultants suppose the newest determine nonetheless masks how extreme the cost-of-living disaster is in a rustic the place persons are having bother paying skyrocketing rents and shopping for primary items.
Critics blame the disaster on Erdogan’s coverage of protecting rates of interest low to advertise development. Economists usually advocate elevating charges to fight inflation.
Regardless of a faltering financial system, Erdogan received the election, partially by softening the results of inflation with public spending that consultants say is unsustainable, together with minimal wage and pension will increase.
“The Turkish financial system has been partying for a very long time and properly past its means. And I believe within the interval after the election, that is when we’re going to pay for the feast that we consumed,” mentioned Selva Demiralp, professor of economics at Istanbul’s Koc College.
Transferring ahead, the federal government might want to resolve whether or not to stay to low charges, as Erdogan has promised, make gradual hikes, or mix small will increase with different measures. All might be convey an “unavoidable slowdown” within the Turkish financial system and better unemployment charges, based on Demiralp, however the query is whether or not it is a managed slowdown or a sudden cease.
Erdogan’s overwhelming victory within the provinces hit hardest by the February 6 earthquake that killed some 50,000 individuals got here regardless of criticism that the federal government’s response was sluggish and ineffective.
Voters in 9 of the 11 provinces affected by the quake backed the president, together with in particularly hard-hit Hatay. In his victory speech, Erdogan mentioned rebuilding efforts could be a high precedence for his authorities.
The World Financial institution estimates that the earthquake precipitated $34.2 billion in “direct damages” – an quantity equal to 4% of Turkey’s 2021 gross home product. The restoration and reconstruction prices may add as much as twice that a lot, it mentioned.
Erdogan’s two-decades in energy have been marked by an enormous growth in building. Regardless of criticism that the lax enforcement of constructing codes contributed to the deadliness of the quake, lots of his supporters consider he has proven that he can rebuild. However geologists and engineers have warned {that a} speedy building marketing campaign may additionally pose dangers.
Erdogan is deeply conscious that sentiment has soured on the three.4 million Syrians who fled violence at residence for Turkey, particularly because the nation grapples with an financial downturn.
In his victory speech, Erdogan mentioned some 600,000 refugees had already voluntarily returned to Syria, the place his authorities is creating so-called “protected zones” in northern areas that it controls. A further million would observe because of a joint resettlement program with Qatar, Erdogan mentioned, with out offering particulars.
However Emma Sinclair-Webb from Human Rights Watch mentioned Syria remains to be not protected for a lot of refugees – whereas the polarizing discourse in Turkey can also be making a harmful state of affairs for them.
Rights and freedoms
Erdogan’s presidency has been marked by a crackdown on freedom of expression and growing hostility towards minority teams: Mainstream media is pro-government, web censorship is widespread, new social media legal guidelines may restrict expression on-line, and he has steadily focused members of the LGBTQ group and ethnic Kurds.
Within the aftermath of the 2016 failed coup try that Turkey blames on a U.S.-based Muslim cleric, the federal government used broad terror legal guidelines to imprison these with hyperlinks to the cleric, pro-Kurdish politicians and members of civil society.
Sinclair-Webb, the human rights campaigner, mentioned Erdogan’s victory speech was a “style of what is to come back” when he focused the imprisoned pro-Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas, as crowds chanted slogans for capital punishment.
He equally used one other victory speech to fire up anti-LGBTQ sentiment.
Erdogan as soon as referred to as the mistreatment of homosexual individuals “inhumane” however now refers to members of LGBTQ group as “deviants.” Since 2015, his authorities has banned satisfaction parades, as officers have elevated the usage of discriminatory language whereas attempting to strengthen their conservative base.
Erdogan’s authorities has additionally withdrawn Turkey from a landmark European treaty defending ladies from home violence, bowing to conservative teams that claimed the treaty promoted homosexuality.
Anti-gay rhetoric solely escalated throughout Erdogan’s marketing campaign.
“Mentioning it once more on the first alternative within the balcony speech on victory is a chilling reminder of how he is actually placing LGBT individuals at nice danger,” mentioned Sinclair-Webb, the human rights campaigner.
Turkey’s oldest LGBTQ affiliation, Kaos GL, mentioned that Erdogan’s win wouldn’t silence them.
“Though they promise to close us down, we got here out as soon as and we’re not going again in,” the group and others mentioned in an announcement.

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