Istanbul voters dealt Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a tremendous blow last Sunday when they resoundingly rejected the country’s former prime minister and close Erdogan ally, Binali Yildirim, in his bid to become mayor of Istanbul and maintain the quarter-century grip on Turkey’s largest city that Erdogan and his allies had held. New Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu defeated Yildirm 54 percent to 45 percent in the re-run of a vote in March that Imamoglu narrowly won. The loss amounted to Erdogan’s first major electoral defeat of his political career and a serious blow to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which Erdogan co-founded. The Turkish president and his allies had controlled Istanbul since Erdogan was elected mayor of the Turkish metropolis 25 years ago. A variety of
The article first published in americanthinker.com on 08/14/2018. And so by mid-2018, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has achieved virtually everything he sat out to achieve when he first came to power in 2003. Turkey is now in everything but the name an Islamist dictatorship with Erdogan as the unchallenged leader. Yet, instead of feeling supremely confident, Erdogan and his clique are beset by ineluctable problems and foreboding of disaster down the road. In many ways, this was inevitable and stems from the very nature of the radical transformation of an imperfect democracy into an oppressive tyranny. Disaster for Turkey may not be around the bend, it was thought, but it was inevitable sooner rather than later. The collapse of the Turkish lira last Friday may have signaled that ‘sooner’ is now. To
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cemented his control over Turkey Sunday, establishing a new political order out of the chaos that has gripped the country over the last couple of years. With a narrow victory in Turkey’s constitutional referendum, Erdogan will now become head of government, in addition to being head of state. He will have the legal ground to rule largely by executive decree, something he has already been doing under a state of emergency. Erdogan also said he plans to parlay Sunday’s victory into a referendum on bringing back the death penalty. Additionally, if twice reelected as president, Erdogan could serve as Turkey’s executive leader until 2029. On Sunday, Erdogan’s “yes” campaign received about 51.4% of the vote. The “no” campaign received
Bilateral Relations Background – theses ▲ Turkey relies on Russia for critical energy supplies, i.e. its demand is relatively inelastic until it resolves its over dependence on Russian oil and gas. This is likely to happen in the next 5-10 years ▲ Russia imports from Turkey foods and manufactured goods—clothing, machinery and equipment. Its demand is very elastic. Turkey’s tourist sector is dependent on Russian tourists. ▲ Bilateral trade has fluctuated at USD20-38bn but trade deficits of around USD15bn persisted for Turkey. ▲ Factors that will continue to exacerbate the deficit: (i) Grand projects such as nuclear power plant; (ii) weak economy in Russia that impedes import demand including from Turkey, (iii) security concerns and possibly renewed political tensions reducing Russian tourist inflow. ▲ Overall Turkey cannot reduce