Features

Erdogan whittles away Turkish democracy

It was a symbolic loss for his party, but now Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to have another try.

943-Erdogan-634

Erdogan: let's try again

It was a symbolic loss for his party, says The Economist, but now Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to have another try. On 31 March voters in Istanbul chose Ekrem Imamoglu of the opposition Republican People's Party to be mayor and rejected the president's Islamist allies, who have controlled the city since 1994.

Erdogan's AK party demanded a recount. When it became clear that that would not deliver the desired result, the party went further calling for the election to be overturned and re-run. Erdogan has claimed without any compelling evidence that the opposition stole the ballot with the help of "organised crime". The move threatens to destroy one of "the last remaining pillars of Turkey's democracy" and has spooked markets, sending the lira down by more than 3% against the dollar since the start of April.

Economic troubles seem to lie at the root of growing discontent with the ruling party, say Selcan Hacaoglu and Onur Ant on Bloomberg. Official data shows that most of the municipalities that swung from Erdogan's camp to the opposition at last month'slocal elections have been disproportionately affected by rising unemployment. Turkey's jobless rate hit 14.7% in January, its highest reading in a decade. The economy fell into a recession at the end of last year and the lira ended the year down 30% against the US dollar.

The recession has undercut Erdogan's long record of growth over his 16 years in power, says Richard Prez-Pea in The New York Times. That has made voters more willing to give the opposition a hearing. AK is keen to cling onto Istanbul not only for its symbolic value it is Erdogan's home town but also because it is a vital source of the municipal contracts and charitable donations that underpin the ruling party's "network of cronyism and nepotism". With 15 million people, Istanbul is the most populous city in Europe.The fight over its future will put Turkish democracy to the test.

Recommended

Shareholder capitalism: why we must return power to listed companies’ ultimate owners
Investment strategy

Shareholder capitalism: why we must return power to listed companies’ ultimate owners

Under our system of shareholder capitalism it's not fund managers, it‘s the individual investors – the company's ultimate owners – who should be telli…
24 Jan 2022
Just how green is nuclear power?
Energy

Just how green is nuclear power?

Nuclear power is certainly very clean in terms of carbon emissions, but what about the radioactive waste produced as a byproduct? It’s not as much of …
22 Jan 2022
The charts that matter: the start of the big crash?
Global Economy

The charts that matter: the start of the big crash?

US tech stocks fell further this week, more than 10% down on their November high. There’s what happened to the charts that matter most to the global e…
22 Jan 2022
Inflation: now we really have something to worry about
Inflation

Inflation: now we really have something to worry about

We’ve been worrying about a sharp rise in inflation for years, says Merryn Somerset Webb – now, we finally have something to worry about.
21 Jan 2022

Most Popular

Ask for a pay rise – everyone else is
Inflation

Ask for a pay rise – everyone else is

As inflation bites and the labour market remains tight, many of the nation's employees are asking for a pay rise. Merryn Somerset Webb explains why yo…
17 Jan 2022
Temple Bar’s Ian Lance and Nick Purves: the essence of value investing
Investment strategy

Temple Bar’s Ian Lance and Nick Purves: the essence of value investing

Ian Lance and Nick Purves of the Temple Bar investment trust explain the essence of “value investing” – buying something for less than its intrinsic v…
14 Jan 2022
Interest rates might rise faster than expected – what does that mean for your money?
Global Economy

Interest rates might rise faster than expected – what does that mean for your money?

The idea that the US Federal Reserve could raise interest rates much earlier than anticipated has upset the markets. John Stepek explains why, and wha…
6 Jan 2022