Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s political and economic policies, particularly in the international arena, have proven to be short sighted and lacked wisdom, whose negative accumulations throughout his tenure have led to ever worse political, economic and security crises which placed the Turkish state in a dilemma at the international and domestic level. This confirms that Erdogan was not even a second-class politician, and his policies and vision were not mature enough. This has led to a popular discontent and to the fall of legitimacy and the collapse of the grassroots of his party, Justice and Development, which has recently been shown in many evidences, the last of which was the defeat of the ruling Party’s candidate Ben Ali Yildirim in the municipal elections in Istanbul, which was a blow to the Turkish President Erdogan and showed signs of the rise of opposition in exchange of falling popularity of the ruling party.
In the last March’s municipal elections, Erdogan’s Brotherhood party lost in the political capital, Ankara, the economic capital, Istanbul, and the commercial and tourist capital Izmir. However, the defeat in Istanbul, which was dominated by Erdogan’s party for 25 years, was a heavy and painful blow to the Turkish president, who quickly rejected these elections and ordered for round two election on the pretext of fraud and irregularities. Nonetheless, the re-election and affirming his defeat was nothing but a dire political blow for Erdogan since this was his decision.
The political defeats suffered by President Erdogan, both at home and abroad, have led to crises and caused damages to the country, its institutions, as well as the people economically, socially and security. Erdogan’s successive defeats and his loss of the grassroots can be attributed to several internal and external factors, all of which are going to form painful and inevitable ending for the Turkish president:
First: Linking the fate of the Turkish state to this of the Muslim Brotherhood and favoring the interests of this organization over the supreme national interests of the Turkish state, as well as harnessing the capabilities and institutions of the country to serve the Muslim Brotherhood organization, classified as a terrorist one, and supporting it politically and economically, in contradiction with the interests of the Turkish state and its citizens, and putting Turkey’s external relations with the international community at odds.
Second: Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hostility towards the Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and others, and sacrificing great interests and benefits expected with these countries in order to support Qatar and its hostile positions against the Arab countries was a major strategic mistake that cost Turkey heavy losses on the political and economic level.
Third: The Turkish regime’s support for terrorist groups in Syria, Libya and Iraq, and the blatant intervention in the regional affairs in a way that serves Erdogan’s expansionist projects. The result of this was wasting tens of billions of Turkish people’s money, exposing the country to security threats and terrorist operations because of harboring terrorists and turning Turkey into a training center for them and a cross road into Syria and Iraq.
Fourth: the crackdown and arrests against dissidents, especially after the failed coup d’état attempt that Erdogan exploited and after which he managed to neutralize those who reject his policies, marginalize opposition parties and figures, and arrest tens of thousands of activists, politicians, military and security leaders and judicial officials. This was the main reason for the collapse of the popular base that Erdogan was able to build through his populist speeches and fiery statements.
Fifth: Strengthening and expanding relations with rogue regimes and organizations, which suffer isolation and regional and global sanctions, especially the Iranian regime, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, while antagonizing countries that stand against the terrorism of the Muslim Brotherhood and reject Turkish expansionist projects. Instead of building positive and productive relations with the international community that serves the interest of his country, Erdogan’s administration has expanded relations with parties that only bring harms to the Turkish state and anger the international community.
Sixth: The poor economic and living conditions suffered by the Turkish citizen, as inflation has reached 20% in addition to the collapse of the Turkish lira, while unemployment rate reached its highest levels in decades, all of which helped to form a broad opposition front against Erdogan.
Al Mezmaah Studies & Research Centre
3 July 2019