On April 20, 2018, POMED Nonresident Senior Fellow Howard Eissenstat wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post‘s Monkey Cage entitled, “Turkey’s president will win the country’s snap elections. Here’s why they still matter.”
This week, Turkey’s president announced the country would hold snap elections on June 24. The outcome of these elections is hardly in question: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will win. But these elections are tremendously important for his rule and understanding contemporary Turkey — as well as the ways in which Erdogan’s authoritarianism differs from some of his contemporaries.
The logic of early elections seems clear. It capitalizes on the largely successful Turkish campaign against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria — and a general sense in Turkey that the broader war with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is going well. The latest round of spats with Turkey’s Western allies, including the United States and Greece, also plays well domestically.
Early elections also lessen the risk that growing economic instability might undermine the government’s popularity. Strong growth in the past year has been accompanied by increasingly high inflation and basic questions about Turkey’s financial stability. It is unclear how long the political pressure and stimulus efforts that the government has employed to keep economic growth high will continue to work. Erdogan’s recent criticisms against international financial markets and statements in favor of a return to the gold standard are unlikely to change the economic fundamentals that have caused concern to credit-rating agencies.
Read the full article here.