Jun 27 2018

Erdoğan to prioritise sticks over carrots

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to use his new presidential powers to the full and crack down on dissenters and those suspected of disloyalty,

Those opposing his rule will probably end up in jail with tens of thousands of others arrested since the failed military coup of July 2016, Jamie Dettmer said in an analysis for Voice of America.

In a victory speech on Sunday, marking an election win that will give Erdoğan an unprecedented ability to execute his agenda, Erdoğan vowed to “fight decisively” against Turkey’s enemies at home and abroad. He also signaled an intensification of the conflict with Kurdish militants in southeast Turkey, Dettmer said.

“Erdoğan’s preference for sticks over carrots in domestic politics will continue,” commentator Abdullah Bozkurt said. “His first order of business will be making sure there is no backlash against his rule,

“With direct control over the security forces, both police and military, Erdoğan can easily squelch any potential unrest in the coming days,” Bozkurt said.

Bozkurt, president of the Stockholm Centre for Freedom, is accused by Turkey of belonging to the Fethullah Gulen movement, which the government blames for masterminding a coup attempt that killed hundreds of people and damaged the parliament building with a missile from an F-16. Gulen denies the charges.

Some of Erdoğan’s dejected opponents will probably throw in the towel and accept government patronage, though that may depend on whether Turkey survives an economic storm that has already weakened the lira by about 20 percent against the dollar this year, Dettmer said.

Despite opposition to Erdoğan’s policies, which also include cosying up to Russia, the West faces a “conundrum” over Turkey, because of the impact of the coup attempt and instability across its borders, according to Amanda Sloat of the Brookings Institution.

“What makes the country such a conundrum is that its problematic leadership faces real threats," Sloat said in a report earlier this year. "Turkey is confronting challenges from the aftermath of the July 2016 coup attempt and the destabilising effects of the Syrian war. Yet the country’s president is growing more authoritarian, using virulent anti-Western rhetoric, and making foreign policy choices contrary to the interests of the trans-Atlantic alliance.”