Jun 29 2018

Dependence on nationalist ally will come at a cost for Erdoğan - Time

After re-election on June 24, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan now has more power than any other Turkish leader since the nation’s modern founder, but his dependence on nationalist allies in the parliament will come at a cost, political scientist Ian Bremmer wrote in Time magazine.

Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) no longer has a majority in parliament and therefore needs the support of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in the next term. For Erdoğan this implies partnering with the MHP in the new government and aligning his policies with his ally’s demands on economic, domestic and foreign policy issues.  

The MHP, Bremmer said, will want the government to spend more money to maintain a crackdown on Kurds inside and outside Turkey and to pursue a hawkish foreign policy that makes Turkey more active in Syria and less friendly with its allies in the West. 

In June 2015, Erdoğan’s AKP also failed to secure a majority in parliament and called snap elections in November the same year. However, an early election is not an option this time according to Bremmer, because the country is struggling under the pressure of an economic downturn. But the MHP’s demands will also make it harder for Erdoğan to pursue policies for economic recovery by decreasing state spending and implementing economic reforms.

“It won’t be easy to build an authoritarian system atop such a bitterly divided society. Dependence on allies will come at a cost,” Bremmer said. “There will be protests, and the government’s response will help determine Turkey’s stability. The president’s new powers will not free him of the obstacles ahead.”