April 23, 2018

NEO-OTTOMANS: Erdogan’s shock election call brings cherished powers within reach.

Those two factors support his decision to go early. Economists don’t expect Turkey to sustain last year’s breakneck growth of 7.4 percent through to the scheduled Nov 2019 poll date, while Erdogan is enjoying nationalist acclaim for early military success across the border in Syria.

“Erdogan has all odds stacked in his favor. From … economic growth to the state of emergency which he has been using to crack down on opposition, to a near complete control of the media,” said Soner Cagaptay, a fellow at the Washington Institute.

The prize for the victor in June will be power almost unprecedented since the Turkish republic was created under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, out of the ruins of the Ottoman empire nearly a century ago.

“The office of prime minister will cease to exist. Erdogan will become head of state, head of government, head of the police, head of the army and head of the ruling party,” said Cagaptay. “He will become the most powerful Turkish leader since Ataturk, and in some regards more powerful.”

Turkey’s economy is already showing signs of running out of other people’s money, which is why Erdogan needs to lock in his sultan-like powers now.

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