Feb 14 2018

Erdoğan may capitalise on war with early elections – investors

Investors are nervous that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will take advantage of public enthusiasm for the ongoing Turkish offensive in northwest Syria by calling early elections, the business news firm Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

The presidential elections will be the first time the country chooses its president under the new executive presidency system, which the country is set to adopt after a controversial referendum in April 2017.

Although the elections are due by November 2019, investors quoted by Bloomberg believe there are signs that the government is preparing to call early elections for the first time in its 15-year rule.

“(Erdoğan’s government) is running the economy on full throttle, trying to maximize growth, job creation, and letting inflation and the current account take the strain,” Bloomberg quoted the emerging market strategist Tim Ash as saying.

The economy cannot continue performing at such a pace, however, and the knowledge that it could begin to slide may be another driving factor behind early elections.

“Early elections are more rational for the government before the economy takes a turn for worse,” Bloomberg quoted the political risk analyst company director Naz Masraff as saying.

These economic factors, alongside a wave of nationalist fervour evoked by Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch against armed Kurdish groups in the northwest Syrian area of Afrin, could combine to win Erdoğan the 51 percent of votes he needs for a first round victory if early elections are called.

However, this is still far from certain, with Oner Buçukçu, a political analyst at Afyon Kocatepe University, telling Bloomberg that the president is still trying to secure this majority, and that the chance of early elections are “slim.”