Turkey’s Erdoğan facing dilemmas to hold onto power - Kathimerini

Turkey’s future is tied to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose sole objective is to remain in power forever, while the country is heading towards an inevitable economic and diplomatic crisis, wrote Alexis Papachelas, executive editor of the Greek newspaper Kathimerini on Monday.

The first crisis facing Erdoğan will be an economic one, the article said, pointing to $ 300 billion of debt the Turkish private sector has accrued, most of which is in foreign currencies and must be paid off by the end of this summer.

Turkey has the option of either knocking on the door of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a loan or following the path of Venezuela, the Kathimerini article said.

Turkey, a country dependent on imports for basic necessities such as onions and flour, needs the kind of money that support from Russia and Qatar cannot provide, Papachelas said.

Turning to the IMF, which Erdoğan has repeatedly dismissed as an option, would make Turkey’s strongman "look like a leader who turns to the West to ask for money when he has been styling himself as the leader of a mid-range superpower that can snub the European Union and the United States," he said.

The other dilemma facing Erdoğan is his purchase of Russian S-400 air defence missiles that is compromising the delivery of U.S.-made F-35 fighter jets. Choosing the former could damage Turkey’s ties with the United States and NATO.

The U.S. Congress is taking the issue very seriously and the United States on April 1 halted delivery of equipment related to the aircraft to Turkey.

An increasing number of U.S. officials are starting to believe that Turkey’s current relationship with NATO, which it joined in 1952, is unsustainable, the article said.