ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a populist with more and more authoritarian tendencies, is scheduled to take the oath of workplace and begin his third presidential time period Saturday following his newest election win.
Erdogan, who has led Turkey as prime minister or president for 20 years, prevailed in a runoff race final weekend regardless of the nation’s ongoing financial disaster and his authorities’s criticized response to a February earthquake that killed greater than 50,000 folks.
Generally known as “reis,” or “the chief,” amongst his followers, the 69-year-old Erdogan already is the longest-serving chief within the Turkish republic’s historical past. His reelection to a five-year time period that runs till 2028 extends his rule into a 3rd decade, and he may presumably serve longer with the assistance of a pleasant parliament.
Here’s a take a look at Erdogan’s profession and among the causes for his political longevity.
IT’S NOT THE ECONOMY
Many specialists agree that Turkey’s extreme financial woes end result from Erdogan’s unorthodox fiscal insurance policies — most notably, miserable rates of interest towards rampant inflation regardless of the warnings of economists. Nonetheless, the vast majority of voters — he acquired 52% of the runoff vote — didn’t appear to carry it towards him.
Erdogan’s endurance amid a cost-of-living disaster — inflation in Turkey hit a staggering 85% in October earlier than easing to 44% in April — may need resulted from many individuals preferring stability over change as they wrestle to pay skyrocketing costs for lease and primary items.
The president has demonstrated a capability to show the financial system round up to now. And he has by no means shied away from spending and deploying authorities sources to his political benefit.
Over the previous twenty years, his authorities has spent lavishly on infrastructure to please constituents. Within the interval main as much as final month’s parliamentary and presidential elections, he elevated wages and pensions to cushion the blow from inflation and disbursed electrical energy and gasoline subsidies.
One level of satisfaction for a lot of voters is Turkey’s ballooning military-industrial sector. All through the marketing campaign, Erdogan ceaselessly cited domestically made drones, plane and a warship touted because the world’s first “drone service.”
ON THE WORLD STAGE
Erdogan has swayed many Turks to his facet with the way in which he navigates the world stage. Supporters see in him a frontrunner who has proven that Turkey generally is a main participant in geopolitics whereas displaying an impartial streak because it engages with the East and West.
Turkey is a key NATO member due to its strategic location on the crossroads of Europe and Asia, and it controls the alliance’s second-largest military. Throughout Erdogan’s tenure, the nation has confirmed to be an indispensable and, at instances, troublesome NATO ally.
The Turkish authorities has held up Sweden’s entry into NATO and bought Russian missile-defense techniques, prompting the US to oust Turkey from a U.S.-led fighter jet venture. But, along with the United Nations, Turkey brokered an important wartime deal that allowed Ukraine to renew delivery grain by the Black Sea to elements of the world fighting starvation.
Erdogan has hailed his reelection, which got here because the nation prepares to mark the centenary of the republic, as the beginning of the “Century of Turkey.”
A RETURN TO ISLAMIC ROOTS
Erdogan has cultivated deep loyalty from conservative and spiritual supporters by elevating Islamic values in a rustic that was outlined by secularism for almost a century.
He has curbed the powers of the army, which ceaselessly meddled in civilian politics at any time when the nation started deviating from secularism. He lifted guidelines that barred conservative ladies from carrying headscarves in faculties and authorities places of work.
He additionally reconverted Istanbul’s landmark Hagia Sophia right into a mosque, assembly a long-time demand of Turkish Islamists. The Byzantine-era cathedral first grew to become a mosque after the conquest of Constantinople however had served as a museum for many years.
Extra just lately, he has slammed LGBTQ+ rights, suggesting they pose a risk to the standard, conservative notion of what constitutes a household.
TIGHT CONTROL OVER MEDIA
Throughout his a long time in energy, Erdogan consolidated management over the media.
A majority of Turkish information retailers are actually owned by conglomerates loyal to him. He has used his place to silence criticism and to disparage the opposition.
Worldwide election displays noticed that each the primary spherical of the presidential election on Could 14th and the Could twenty eighth runoff had been free however not honest.
Whereas voters within the second spherical had a alternative between real political alternate options, “biased media protection and an absence of a stage taking part in subject gave an unjustified benefit to the incumbent,” mentioned Farah Karimi, a coordinator for the Group for Safety and Cooperation in Europe.
Erdogan’s opponent within the runoff election, opposition chief Kemal Kilicdaroglu, had promised to undo the president’s financial insurance policies and to place Turkey again on a democratic path by ending crackdowns on free speech.
Cinar Kiper reported from Bodrum.