Two women pose a serious challenge to Turkey’s Erdoğan – Bloomberg

Two women from opposite sides of the political spectrum in Turkey’s opposition leadership pose the biggest challenge to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: central right Good Party (İYİP) leader Meral Akşener and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul chief Canan Kaftancıoğlu, Bloomberg said on Tuesday.

Erdoğan is entering 2021 facing the strongest opposition of his career, it said, pointing to Akşener and Kaftancıoğlu duo, which represent “an unprecedented double threat for the president and his party.’’

The mounting challengesfacing Erdoğan at home and abroad include an economic crisis, waning support for his leadership, sanctions and sanctions threats from the United States and the EU, and isolation from NATO allies over an increasingly aggressive foreign policy.

İYİP leader Akşener “makes no bones of her desire to replace Erdogan as president, and ran against him in 2018,’’ the article said, pointing to her strong nationalist credentials that pose threat to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) alliance.

As for Kaftancıoğlu, credited with CHP’s victory in the March 2019 local elections, Erdogan and his allies fear for her “ability to turn out the vote for the CHP,’’ Bloomberg said.

The CHP Istanbul chair is a frequent target of the government. She faces several legal proceedings and an appeal against a sentence of nine years in prison is pending before the Supreme Court.

Turkey’s economic and political landscape has shifted since the 2019 elections, with Erdoğan and the AKP, weakening, it said, noting that a change to the country’s status quo would require “a strong show of opposition unity.’’

The article concluded by pointing to an apparent shortcoming of both figures - the support of Kurds, who make up some 15 million of the Turkish population.

The Kaftancıoğlu and Akşener pairing must gain the help of Kurds, who are wary of the latter’s nationalism and are resentful of the CHP’s failure to stand up for Kurdish politicians facing a crackdown from the government, the article said.