Turkey is about to hold its first Presidential election since the passage of a referendum which restructures national governance to transform Turkey into a strong Presidential system. Because of this and because of Turkey’s shift to increased geopolitical multipolarity, domestic economic growth and increasingly negative relations with the western powers which have all occurred during the current term of incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, it is fair to say that elections on the 24th of June will be the most important in recent Turkish history.
With this in mind, here are the following reasons why the incumbent President is likely to win re-election on Sunday:
1. Economic growth in spite of all odds
In spite of a barrage of politically motivated western speculative meddling against the Turkish Lira, Turkey’s economy continues to enjoy record growth.
The following facts about the booming Turkish economy are being almost completely ignored in the mad rush to encourage speculation against the Lira in the western financial media:
–Turkey’s economy continues to expand and develop with a 7.4% growth rate that is outpacing just about every major western economy and is in-league with many so-called “Asian tigers”.
–Overall wages are at an all time high including both in the crucial manufacturing sector and among those on minimum wage, those in high skilled jobs and those in low skilled jobs.
–Employment remains incredibly healthy across the board as it has been through most of the Erdogan years.
Furthermore, Turkey’s recent moderate interest rate hikes as well as a streamlining of varying interest rates across the banking centre has shown that the country is able to manage inflation caused by a combination of foreign meddling and the classic Keynesian growth model wherein inflation typically rises in line with economic growth and increased wages. Furthermore, this would-be mini-crisis has been managed effectively by Ankara without creating large scale changes in borrowing costs to small businesses which Erdogan has pledged to keep relatively low. In this sense, not only is Turkey’s economy strong, but it has shown strength through a commitment to rational long term planning even when under a sustained assault from western speculators including George Soros.
2. Cleaner cities
Before entering national politics, Erdogan was the mayor of Istanbul. As mayor he inherited a city where rubbish was piled high and rarely collected, where clean drinking water could not be taken for granted as recently as the 1990s, where a black market ruled the streets and where public facilities were in a shocking state of disrepair. By the time Erdogan left his office in Istanbul, these problems were fixed, much to the delight even of many of his ideological opponents.
As Prime Minister and now President, Erdogan brought this same urban renewal to the front line of national government and as a result, Turkey’s major cities are now cleaner, more efficiently run, moved by more effective public services and are over all safer places than they were prior to Erdogan’s rise to national politics.
By contrast, the urban areas of many of Turkey’s Mediterranean neighbours remain stuck in a similar position to that of major Turkish cities prior to Erdogan’s urban revival revolution. In this sense, Erdogan’s positive record is written on the streets and causeways of Turkey’s historic cities and the record is an objectively positive one.
3. No nonsense approach to terrorism
Early in his career as Prime Minister, Erdogan attempted to instigate a ceasefire with the PKK terrorist organisation in order to transform an armed threat into a tense but peaceful dialogue process. When the PKK violated these ceasefires, Erdogan redoubled efforts to eliminate the PKK not only in Turkey but in Syria and Iraq. Turkey is now in a position where in the next few years, the PKK could be fully eliminated, just as the terror group LTTE was eliminated by Sri Lanka after Colombo fought the group for almost as long as Turkey has been fighting the PKK.
Furthermore, the rise of the Fethullah Terror Organisation (FETO) has demonstrated that without Erdogan’s strong stance against FETO, there is a danger that the terrorists could succeed in their long held goal of overthrowing the legitimate government of Turkey and forming a terrorist regime controlled by foreign entities.
In 2016, FETO attempted to overthrow the Turkish government, but Erdogan regrouped and mobilised Turkish patriots against the foreign funded terrorists. This strong leadership has won Erdogan admiration from many Turks who realise that at a time when former western partners of Turkey seek to weaken Turkey’s sovereignty, it is necessary to have a strong leader who refuses to compromise over key red lines regarding the country’s independence.
4. The Kurdish factor
Many westerners who have for decades been indoctrinated with PKK propaganda may not be aware that Turkish citizens of Kurdish background have been and continue to be victims of the PKK’s violent terrorist agenda. President Erdogan has always made it clear that Kurds themselves have never been the enemy but that it is only a terror group claiming to speak for all Kurds that is an enemy of not only Turkey but threat to regional peace.
While the HD Party has traditionally won many Kurdish votes, the party’s dubious links to terrorism have pushed many Kurds to think twice about a party that has promised much and never meaningfully delivered anything. There is a high likelihood that in the 2018 election, many Kurds will vote for Erdogan and his AK Party as the best option available for ending the PKK’s reign of terror while also securing a better socio-economic position for Kurds. In many ways, the Kurdish vote may be Erdogan’s wildcard in the forthcoming vote.
5. Foreign policy prestige
Erdogan’s unique foreign policy which stresses making the best out of relationships with both eastern and western partners has won Turkey respect across the globe. China’s relations with Turkey are healthier than they have been in decades due to Erdogan’s embrace of the history changing One Belt–One Road global trading initiative. China in turn provides economic opportunities for Turkey that can help to increase economic productivity and growth rates for years to come.
Furthermore, while much of Turkish history was filled with wars between both Russians and Turks as well as Iranians and Turks, under Erdogan both Russia and Iran are now vital partners of the Republic of Turkey. Russia in particular has just begun building what will be Turkey’s first ever nuclear power plant while trade between the two former adversaries continues to grow, all within the framework of a respected partnership built on trust and openness.
Throughout the wider Sunni Muslim world, Erdogan is also seen as a major player. This has made Turkey a far more important game changer throughout the wider international Muslim community than it had been in the late 20th century. This position has become enhanced as Turkey has taken a lead on holding Tel Aviv to account over its occupation of Palestine in a far more forceful way than most Arab leaders have dared to do.
Erdogan’s commitment to Palestine has won him personal acclaim and has in turn gained Turkey widespread prestige from east Africa to Malaysia and from Pakistan to parts of the Arab world.
Erdogan has transformed Turkey and is without question the most important Turkish leader since Ataturk. Most Turks realise that Erdogan’s job if far from over, while by contrast his opponents have a poor economic record, a confused foreign policy and little geopolitical weight behind their programme.
While Erdogan arouses strong emotional responses both among his supporters and opponents, the fact remains that with Erdogan, Turkey is in a safe set of hands and most Turks increasingly see the opposite in respect of his opponents.