The current situation in Syria
Syria is the great rotating platform of the Middle East. Paraphrasing the statement by Mackinder, the well-known British geopolitician of the early twentieth century, “who rules Syria commands the Middle East, who rules the Middle East controls Europe and Africa”.
This is the profound meaning of the “war between the wars”, as Israel once defined its air operations in Syria.
Israel, in particular, does not want Iran to be hegemonic in Syria.
This is the reason why, first and foremost, it tends to achieve a clear balance with the Russian Federation, which will certainly not leave Syria completely in Iran’s hands.
In fact, in November 2018 Israel started new bombings of the Iranian business districts, such as Kiswah, near Damascus, or Harfa, a strong Hezbollah position near the Golan Heights.
In Syria Bashar el Assad’s forces are pressing the jihadist positions in the Idlib region, as well as the cities of Lahaya and Masasnah in the Northern Province of Hama.
The anti-Bashar groups, i.e. the Free Syrian Army, Tahrir al-Sham, also known as al-Qaeda in Syria, and Jaish al-Izza, a jihadist group affiliated with the Free Syrian Army, with armaments supplied by the United States, but operating mainly in the areas near Hama, faced the Shiite forces’ attack very well and still hold a large part of Idlib.
Idlib is, in fact, the most important corridor for de-escalation, as established by the Astana Agreement, but it is also the city in which Syria connects to Turkey and, hence, to the primary lines heading for Europe.
Turkey has so far taken control of the Murak pass, in the Northern Hama province, while Tahrir al-Sham, that previously held that region, has repositioned itself in Kafr Zeita, again in the Northern Hama province.
In the Western part of the Idlib province, the group led by al-Qaeda in Syria, namely Tahrir al-Sham, has negotiated a “ceasefire” with the other jihadist groups, which allows it to keep control of six villages in the Ghab Plain.
Meanwhile, Assad’ Syrian Arab Army, with the elite forces of the 42ndDivision, dubbed “Ghait Forces”, and the 4th Armoured Division, is moving from Southern Syria to the Northern region of the Latakia province.
It should be remembered that all Syrian fighting Corps also have powerful Russian advisors.
The Iraqi Shiite militants, led by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, have moved to Hama’s Northern province, while the Fifth Corps of Assad’s Army – again with Russian support – carries out reinforcement and backup actions between the North of Aleppo and Hama and Latakia’s Northern region.
Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, i.e. the Syrian “section” of al-Qaeda, destroyed all the bridges of Al Eys, in the Southern Aleppo Province.
Hence the Aleppo-Idlib Northern axis is the centre of gravity of this war, while the South is becoming essential for covering and protecting the Northern regions, which are now decisive for the solution of the Syrian war.
The jihadist group, however, has currently positioned itself on the side of the demilitarized zone of Idlib, which is controlled by Russia, Turkey and Iran.
Meanwhile, some groups – probably linked to Daesh-Isis, which is far from having been “eliminated”, as the Western press propaganda maintains – fight against the al-Qaeda-linked groups in the Idlib region.
This region is the centre of gravity of the war. Operations attributable to ISIS have also been carried out in Aleppo.
Meanwhile, the YPG Kurds effectively fight the jihadist groups surrounding the Kurdish city of Afrin, which is currently controlled by the Turkish troops.
In the meantime, Russia has put its anti-missile defence batteries back into operation in the Western province of Hama.
Hence what does Iranians want from Syria? Initially Iran used the Damascus corridor almost exclusively to transfer arms to the Lebanon.
Currently, however, weapons are manufactured directly in that country. In fact, Hezbollah has approximately 150,000 rockets, missiles and mortar shells, which are produced both in Iran and in Syria.
The ferocious anti-Zionist policy of current Iran is based above all on Hezbollah’s remarkable ability to attack Israel.
According to Israeli intelligence, one in four buildings is a military base of the Shiite group in Southern Lebanon.
In 2017, however, the Israeli air force began to hit hard on the weapon landline stretching from Teheran to Beirut.
Hence Syria has become a sort of second Lebanon, with the current establishment and deployment of an Iran-led army on the field, in addition to the normal maintenance of the lines for transferring weapons from Iran to Southern Lebanon.
Hence this transformation of Israel’s operational logic has led to a change of Iran’s tactics.
On the basis of the agreement signed between Iran and Assad’s regime on August 26, instead of operating solely on Syrian territory, the Shiite Islamic Republic will merge almost entirely with the Syrian armed forces, while Iran’s war industries will be integrated with those of the Baathist regime.
In all likelihood, Iran wants to replace the fallen soldiers of Assad’s army with its own.
Nevertheless Iran is increasingly using Iraq as a storage area for missiles and it also wants to use the Iraqi Shiite militias in the future.
The fact remains that Iran is increasingly standing out as a regional winner in the Syrian conflict.
Russia is certainly not happy about it.
After the US quick withdrawal from Syria, which enables Assad’s regime to stand as the sole protector of the Kurdish groups of Rojava, the Russian Federation is developing a new strategy.
Together with Iran to the Syrians, the Russians are moving to the middle Euphrates river valley, so as to later cross that river and conquer the areas previously occupied by the US forces and their Syrian allies, namely the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), that fought mainly against Isis-Daesh.
The aforementioned region is rich in oil, but Russia and Syria are mainly trying to prepare for the offensive of the Turkish Army on the city of Manbiji, one of the symbols of the Kurdish independence movement.
Considering the US withdrawal, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), however, are dealing with Assad and the Russian forces to grant passage on the territory they previously conquered.
Moreover, with a view to securing the border between Iraq and Syria, the Iraqi regime is actively collaborating with the Russian-Iranian coalition.
Nevertheless, at economic level, things are not going so well for the Syrian-Iranian and Russian coalition.
In eight years of war, however, Assad’s forces have lost control of most Syrian oil wells and natural gas fields.
The phosphate reserves and the agricultural production areas have also fallen into enemy hands.
Syria has reserves worth 2 billion oil barrels – and Bashar al-Assad’s regime stopped light oil production in 2012 and heavy oil production in 2013.
Before the war, Syria produced an average of 385,000 barrels a day.
Currently, according to official sources, Assad’s regime extracts only 20,000 barrels a day.
In its action against the jihadist groups, however, the Syrian regime has recently reconquered – one after the other – the most important oil areas, namely Shaar, al-Hayl, Arak, Hayan and finally the area of Al-Mahr, in the region of Palmira.
Meanwhile, the Kurds – already supported by the United States – keep control of their oil fields and gas deposits in Eastern and North-Eastern Syria.
The areas controlled by the Kurds – currently in contact with Assad’s forces – account for 30% of the Syrian territory.
The Kurdish forces have conquered approximately 1,000 wells, some of which are in good condition and can easily start production.
The Kurdish wells, controlled only by the forces of Rojava, are enough for the consumption of the whole area. Probably the Syrian government secretly bought oil from the Kurds so as to resell it at a higher price, since the Kurdish oil had a much lower price than the one charged on the international market.
As to natural gas, the largest well is the old Conoco, in the Eastern region of Deir Ezzour, which is still controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
One of the old axes of the US presence in Syria.
A well that before the conflict produced 21 million cubic meters a day, as against the current 8.5 million cubic meters, while the Syrian government maintains that it currently produces 16.5 million cubic meters a day.
Obviously the cost of gas for Syrian citizens has multiplied by ten during the war, which is still continuing.
With specific reference to phosphates, of which Syria was one of the top exporting countries, in all likelihood the over 2 billion tons of Syrian reserves will be spoils of war for both Russia and Iran.
The largest production area is again in the region of Palmira. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps took full control of the region in 2015.
In 2017 Syria also signed an agreement on phosphates with Russia, thus leaving Iran aside.
Only Russia, however, does invest in the Syrian phosphate extraction areas.
As to olive oil, the main Syrian agricultural resource, before the conflict Syria was the top Arab producer, with 100 million olive trees and 1.2 million tons of olive oil a year.
As a result of war, production has fallen by 300%.
The provinces of Aleppo and Idlib were the major olive oil production areas.
Let us now analyse the behaviour of Turkey, which is the other great army operating in Syria.
Turkey’s army – the second largest within NATO – which also seems to be strangely not interested in the Syrian war, has carried out extensive and effective operations in Northern Syria.
Apart from some obscure operations – such as the one of Tell Rifaat, where the Russians immediately gave in to the Turkish forces surrounding the country – the somehow hidden and secret alliance between Turkey and the Russian Federation seems to be increasingly clear.
Why? Probably because Russia wants to prevent Turley from siding too much with the United States.
Moreover, after the Turkish shooting down of a Russian fighter aircraft in 2015, and after President Erdogan’s official apologies to Russia, it seems that the Turkish-Russian-Iranian axis is strengthening, above all to define and control the “de-escalation zones”.
There are four de-escalation zones: 1) the Idlib province, as well as the North-Eastern areas of Latakia province, the Western areas of Aleppo province and Northern areas of Hama province. There are over one million inhabitants in this zone, dominated by an alliance of al-Qaeda-linked jihadist groups.
2) the Rastan and Talbisehenclave in Northern Homs province. There are approximately 180,000 inhabitants in this zone and its wide network of rebel groups includes al-Qaeda-linked fighters.
3) Eastern Ghouta in the Northern Damascus countryside. Controlled by Jaish al-Islam, a powerful rebel faction that was participating in the Astana talks, it is home to about 690,000 civilians.
4) The rebel-controlled South along the border with Jordan that includes parts of Deraa and Quneitra provinces. As many as 800,000 civilians live there.
The agreement envisages that the jihadist rebels and government forces should halt hostilities for six months.
Russia will continue to fly over the areas, but refrain from conducting air raidsto bomb enemy positions.
In short, Turkey is siding with Russia and the latter is interested in having Turkey as a key ally in Syria, with a view to breaking NATO’s Middle East strategy and having a strong army operating in Assad’s territory, as well as reducing its engagement and hence the cost of the Russian mission to Syria.
Erdogan’s Victory: Five Challenges He May Face in His Third Term
Erdogan, as Turkey’s leader, must negotiate a complicated web of local and foreign challenges while retaining power. One of his most difficult tasks will be to strike a balance between the demands of his conservative constituency and the need to promote democratic norms and preserve human rights. He must also find solutions to economic issues like high unemployment and inflation while also handling Turkey’s ties with important trading partners such as the EU and Russia. At the same time, Erdogan must endeavor to keep the region stable in the face of violence and instability, notably in Syria and Iraq. Notably, he must find a solution to Turkey’s long-standing Kurdish problem, which has been a source of contention for decades. – With so many obstacles ahead of him, Erdogan will need to use all of his leadership abilities if he is to succeed in this new chapter of his political career. Now it’s time to observe the issues that Erdogan may face in his third term and their ramifications for Turkey’s political environment.
Consolidation of Power and Erosion of Democracy
In his third term as President of Turkey, Erdogan faces a serious challenge: the consolidation of power and the deterioration of democracy. He has attempted to consolidate authority, raising worries about an imbalance in the division of powers and the weakening of checks and balances. To solve this problem, Erdogan must emphasize power decentralization and ensure that democratic institutions have the autonomy and capacity to function independently and efficiently as a check on presidential power. Furthermore, the erosion of democratic ideals is a major problem in Turkey’s elections, threatening accountability, openness, and justice. To overcome this dilemma, Erdogan must emphasize the building of these institutions, assuring their independence and ability to function as effective checks and balances on the government. This necessitates a dedication to the rule of law as well as a readiness to engage in constructive discourse with opposition parties and civil society organizations. Furthermore, Erdogan must address the core reasons for political division in Turkey, such as economic disparity and regional differences. This might include enacting laws that encourage inclusive growth and investing in infrastructure projects that benefit all parts of the country. Finally, Erdogan must try to reestablish faith in the political process by ensuring free, fair, and transparent elections. This involves ensuring that all eligible voters have access to the polls and providing enough resources for election monitoring. Erdogan can help ensure that Turkey’s democracy stays strong and vibrant for many years to come by implementing these actions.
Erdogan has been chastised for his treatment of journalists, activists, and political opponents, with concerns raised regarding media control, prohibitions on public rallies, and restrictions on free expression. Erdogan must commit to defending free expression, creating a climate that stimulates open conversation, and respecting individuals’ rights to peacefully express different views. Furthermore, protecting the integrity and fairness of elections is critical for maintaining democracy. Gerrymandering, limits on opposition parties, and questions about election transparency have all posed obstacles to Turkey’s electoral independence and impartiality. Erdogan must emphasize strengthening electoral institutions, maintaining their independence and impartiality, and enacting election reforms that promote justice and inclusion.
Furthermore, he should endeavor to create a more diversified and inclusive political scene in which opposition parties have equal access to the democratic process. This might include things like boosting the political representation of women and minority groups, supporting free speech and assembly, and cultivating a culture of political discourse and compromise. Erdogan should also address foreign observers’ concerns about human rights violations and limits on journalistic freedom. Erdogan can demonstrate his commitment to democracy and guarantee that Turkey remains a stable and affluent nation for many years to come by following these actions. The success of Turkey’s democracy will be determined by its leaders’ capacity to respect the ideals of openness, accountability, and inclusion.
Economic Stability and Growth
Inflation, unemployment, fiscal discipline, income inequality, and foreign variables all offer obstacles to Erdogan’s third term in power in terms of preserving economic stability and attaining long-term growth. Erdogan must establish effective monetary policies, maintain fiscal discipline, and work with the central bank to keep inflationary pressures under control. To address high unemployment rates and offer opportunities for the rising population, he must also prioritize policies that stimulate investment, assist small and medium-sized firms (SMEs), and improve vocational training programs. To minimize dependency on foreign borrowing and promote fiscal stability, he must maintain fiscal discipline and competent debt management. In order to negotiate these hurdles and ensure economic stability, he must diversify trade partners, develop diplomatic connections, and execute smart economic policies.
To achieve these objectives, the leader must prioritize investments in infrastructure and technology to improve productivity and attract foreign investment, as well as education and training programs to develop a skilled workforce capable of competing in the global market. He must implement policies that encourage innovation and entrepreneurship to foster economic growth. The leader must address income inequality and ensure that economic growth benefits all citizens. The success of the leader will be determined by his ability to balance conflicting priorities and make tough decisions in the face of uncertainty. He can guide his country in the right direction by prioritizing investments in infrastructure, education, innovation, and social welfare while simultaneously preserving budgetary discipline and sound economic policies.
Managing Geopolitical Relationships
Managing Turkey’s geopolitical ties will be one of the most challenging challenges Erdogan will confront during his third term as president. Because Turkey is strategically placed at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, its external arrangements and universal relations are vital to its national interface and stability. Exploring the complicated geographical characteristics and maintaining connections with numerous world powers may be one of Erdogan’s most pressing challenges. Relations between Turkey and nations such as the United States, Russia, and European Union members have a considerable influence on its political, financial, and security relationships. Erdogan must closely supervise these ties in order to protect Turkey’s national interface while also strengthening regional structural integrity.
Erdogan may also face difficulties as a result of the Syrian war and its consequences for Turkish security and territorial stability. Turkey has been directly touched by the crisis, allowing millions of Syrian refugees to enter the country and coping with security concerns along its border. Erdogan must study the conflict’s intricacies in order to seek a peaceful settlement that protects Turkey’s security interests, promotes regional stability, and addresses the emergency. Furthermore, the Eastern Mediterranean debate is a significant impediment to Erdogan’s third term. Turkey’s claims and confrontations with neighboring nations about maritime borders, natural resources, and energy exploration have heightened regional tensions. Overseeing these issues while protecting Turkey’s interface requires mediation and dialogue with territorial partners like Greece, Cyprus, and other Eastern Mediterranean countries.
Additionally, Erdogan’s foreign policy decisions and opinions on a variety of global issues have the potential to affect Turkey’s worldwide reputation and ties with other countries. Erdogan must handle issues such as human rights concerns, territorial clashes, and geopolitical competitions while maintaining Turkey’s national interface and growing its image as a capable and powerful global performer. Erdogan must also deal with the challenge of balancing the East with the West in Turkey’s distant approach. Turkey has maintained close ties with both Western and Middle Eastern territorial powers. Overseeing this delicate shift requires Erdogan to advance interaction and engagement with a broad range of performing artists while avoiding alienation or overdependence on any one nation or area.
Addressing Human Rights Concerns
One of the primary problems Erdogan confronts in his third term as Turkish president is dealing with the country’s human rights concerns. Turkey’s human rights record has attracted worldwide attention and criticism, with concerns raised pertaining freedom of expression, press freedom, judiciary independence, and minority treatment. One of the most difficult tasks that President Erdogan must tackle is ensuring freedom of expression and freedom of the press. Turkey has been accused of stifling dissenting voices, with journalists, activists, and opposition organisations subjected to restrictions, censorship, and legal action. Erdogan must promote free expression by allowing for varied viewpoints, constructive criticism, and open and public discussion. A dynamic and democratic society requires the strengthening of press freedom and the independence of the media.
Erdogan must also address concerns about judicial independence and impartiality. A fair and independent court is required to defend the rule of law and protect citizens’ rights. Erdogan must work to improve the judiciary’s independence and guarantee that judges are appointed on merit rather than political reasons. Maintaining public faith in the legal system requires the establishment of a fair and transparent judicial system that promotes human rights. Dealing with ethnic minorities, notably Kurds, is another difficulty, and President Erdogan must address their concerns, encourage their integration, and safeguard their rights and cultural autonomy. This involves dealing with concerns such as discrimination, access to education and health care, and cultural and linguistic diversity.
Implementing comprehensive measures to promote discussion, reconciliation, and the empowerment of minority populations are critical stages in tackling Turkey’s human rights challenges. Furthermore, Erdogan as president should emphasize the battle against impunity for torture, ill-treatment, and abuses of human rights. A solid human rights framework must include the investigation of charges of human rights breaches, the holding of criminals responsible, and the provision of reparation to victims. Improving Turkey’s human rights status requires strengthening oversight systems, providing access to justice, and encouraging law enforcement openness. International collaboration and engagement can also help to address human rights concerns. President Erdogan should collaborate with international organizations, civil society groups, and other nations to exchange best practices, learn from successful experiences, and promote human rights discussion. Productive collaboration with foreign partners would help Turkey enhance its human rights protection and build a favorable image on the global stage.
Kurdish Question and Ethnic Tensions
The persistent Kurdish crisis and ethnic tensions in Turkey are among the fundamental difficulties Erdogan faces in his third term as Turkish president. The Kurdish community in Turkey has long demanded greater acknowledgment of its cultural and political rights, leading to decades of war and turmoil. President Erdogan must manage a complicated web of political, cultural, and social concerns in order to address the Kurdish issue. Finding a balance between the government’s security concerns and the Kurds’ genuine demands is one of the most difficult tasks. President Erdoan must work for a peaceful resolution via conversation and talks, as well as a long-term solution that safeguards the rights of both the Kurdish people and Turkish society as a whole. In order to promote inclusion, it is critical to promote Kurdish cultural and linguistic rights.
President Erdogan should emphasize policies that allow for more cultural autonomy within the framework of a united Turkish state, as well as policies that support the preservation and promotion of Kurdish language and culture. Equal access to education, health care, and economic opportunities for the Kurdish minority is also vital to eliminating socioeconomic disparity and strengthening social cohesion. President Erdogan must also address issues of prejudice and injustice among the Kurdish people. Ethnic conflicts can be reduced by ensuring equitable legal treatment, eliminating prejudice, and fostering social inclusion. President Erdogan should work to foster trust between the Kurdish people and the government, as well as an atmosphere in which all residents feel valued and included. Furthermore, effective institutions for Kurdish political representation must be established. – President Erdogan should support policies that allow Kurdish political parties to engage effectively in the democratic process and guarantee that the different perspectives and interests of the Kurdish population are reflected and represented in decision-making bodies. Erdogan must handle the security issues surrounding the Kurdish issue. Counter-terrorism and national security are vital issues, but it is critical to distinguish between violent extremist organizations and peaceful Kurdish political activities. Erdogan should pursue extremist forces while also creating prospects for constructive political engagement and reconciliation with the Kurdish people. International participation and collaboration can help solve the Kurdish crisis. Pesident Erdogan should be open to constructive conversation and collaboration with international players, particularly neighboring nations and regional organizations, in order to gain insights and aid in managing ethnic tensions and maintaining peace and stability.
To summarize, the Kurdish question and ethnic tensions are important issues for Erdogan in his third term as Turkish president. President Erdogan can lessen ethnic tensions and foster social cohesion by supporting cultural rights, combating discrimination, ensuring political representation, and pursuing peaceful solutions. Addressing the Kurdish issue successfully demands a broad and inclusive strategy that respects the rights and aspirations of all citizens and leads to a more peaceful, united Turkey.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Election Victory and Its Impact on the Region
On May 28, 2023, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan emerged victorious in the second round of the Turkish presidential election. This historic win secures him another five-year term as the leader of Turkey. Erdoğan’s re-election has significant implications not only for Turkey but also for the broader region.
Erdoğan’s election victory solidifies his position as Turkey’s longest-running leader. Having already served as Prime Minister from 2003 to 2014 and as President since 2014, his continued rule until 2028 grants him a mandate to shape Turkey’s future. This consolidation of power allows Erdoğan to implement his political agenda, which has been marked by a focus on nationalism, Islamism, and a strong presidency.
Erdoğan’s victory is likely to have significant domestic implications for Turkey. Firstly, his re-election reaffirms the popularity of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) among a substantial portion of the Turkish population. It reflects the enduring support for his conservative policies and the perceived improvements in Turkey’s economy during his tenure. However, critics argue that his rule has been accompanied by a deterioration of democratic values, media freedom, and human rights.
Furthermore, Erdoğan’s win may exacerbate existing polarization within Turkish society. His presidency has witnessed increasing divisions between secularists and religious conservatives, as well as between urban and rural populations. The opposition, which has faced challenges and restrictions, will need to regroup and redefine its strategy to offer a robust alternative in the political landscape.
Erdoğan’s continued leadership will likely have implications for Turkey’s foreign relations, both regionally and internationally. Historically, Erdoğan has pursued an assertive foreign policy, seeking to assert Turkey’s influence in the region. His government has been involved in conflicts such as the Syrian Civil War and has sought to expand economic ties with countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia.
Erdoğan’s re-election is expected to maintain this proactive foreign policy approach. His leadership may continue to shape Turkey’s relationships with key regional actors such as Russia, Iran, and the European Union. While it remains to be seen how his policies will evolve, his tenure is likely to have implications for issues such as migration, regional stability, and economic cooperation.
The impact of Erdoğan’s victory extends beyond Turkey’s borders, influencing regional security dynamics. Turkey is a key player in the Middle East, occupying a strategic position between Europe, Asia, and the Arab world. Erdoğan’s leadership style and policies have shaped Turkey’s stance on various regional issues, including the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and Libya.
His re-election is expected to maintain Turkey’s active involvement in regional conflicts. Erdoğan’s government has supported certain factions in these conflicts, which has sometimes put Turkey at odds with other regional powers. The continued engagement of Turkey under Erdoğan’s leadership may contribute to shifts in alliances, ongoing geopolitical rivalries, and potential diplomatic challenges.
On the economic front, Erdoğan’s re-election could both consolidate and exacerbate Turkey’s economic challenges. While the president’s economic policies have been credited with transforming Turkey into one of the world’s top 20 economies, recent years have seen economic turbulence marked by inflation, unemployment, and a weakening currency. Erdoğan’s economic approach, marked by his unorthodox belief in combating inflation with low interest rates, has been a subject of controversy and has raised concerns among international investors. His re-election means a continuation of these economic policies, and possibly deeper economic uncertainty.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s election victory and subsequent re-election as President of Turkey have significant implications for both Turkey and the wider region. Domestically, his consolidation of power will shape Turkey’s political landscape and potentially deepen societal divisions. Internationally, his leadership will influence Turkey’s foreign policy choices, impacting regional dynamics and Turkey’s relationships with key actors.
As Erdoğan begins his new term, it remains to be seen how he will navigate the challenges and opportunities ahead. The impact of his presidency on Turkey and the region will continue to unfold over the coming years, influencing political, economic, and security dynamics. Observers will closely monitor the actions and policies of Erdoğan’s government to assess the long-term consequences of his re-election for Turkey and the wider region.
Can Erdogan repay the people’s trust?
The Turkiye nation has concluded the most important election in the country’s modern history. The people of modern Turkey came to determine their destiny at a time when their national economic condition is at a very deplorable level. The depreciation of the lira against the dollar has made the cost of goods and the cost of living more expensive. Inflation is now rampant in the country. Economists say inflation reached 85 percent last year.
The country’s currency, the lira, has fallen to a tenth of its value against the dollar over the past decade. Abnormal inflation causes the prices of goods to rise. Imports cost more as the lira depreciates. On the other hand, 11 provinces in Turkey are struggling to deal with the shock of two earthquakes recently. More than 50 thousand people died in this earthquake.
Despite this severe national crisis and economic instability, the majority of the Turkish people have not lost faith in Erdogan. This is an amazing event. Turkey’s 2023 national election reinstated Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the sultan in power for the past 20 years, as president. On the other hand, the main challenger, the presidential candidate of the Nations Alliance and the leader of the secular Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kilizdarglu, was defeated.
Erdoğan was elected the first mayor of Istanbul in 1994. At that time, he took the initiative to solve various problems that arose in Istanbul due to rapid population growth, such as air pollution, waste collection, and a shortage of clean water. However, after four years, he had to stand in court for reciting a controversial poem. Erdogan was sentenced to four months in prison for spreading religious hatred. Basically, this event was the unforgettable beginning of the significant public opinion formation behind his rise.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan took power as the country’s prime minister in 2003. The people of Turkey trusted him in the 2018 elections as well. Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been elected President of Turkey for the third consecutive term. He will lead the country in the international arena for the next five years. Turkey will create a new equation in geopolitics. An experienced Erdogan will negotiate well with international actors.
Erdogan comes from the conservative political camp. He entered politics with the Salvation Party of political guru Nazimuddin Erbakan. In 1976, he was elected head of the Beyoglu region of the youth wing. The National Salvation Party was headed by Nazimuddin Erbakan. He later served as Prime Minister of Turkey in 1996–97.
Modern Turkey emerged as a secular state under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in the 1920s. Erdogan created a new national manifesto with a lot of new energy, new plans, and a new national manifesto in that country. The first decade of his AK Party rule saw democratic reforms in Turkey. It had to be done because of the country’s desire to join the European Union. During this time, Erdogan was praised by liberals at home and abroad for reducing the authority of the army in the country and working to protect the rights of women and minority ethnic groups. However, Erdogan was criticized for becoming more authoritarian over the next decade. According to many, Erdogan has exacerbated divisions in Turkey.
Basically, he became popular in the Muslim world by expressing his anti-US and especially anti-European attitude in the polls, winning the hearts of the voters, and developing relations with Muslim countries. He converted Turkey from a parliamentary system to a presidential system in 2014. According to the opposition, Erdogan made such changes in the regime to enjoy sole power. Erdogan’s supporters regard him as ‘fatherly’, but opponents consider him an ‘authoritarian’ ruler. Its reflection can be seen in the international environment. During Erdogan’s regime, on the one hand, the distance between Turkey, an important member of NATO, and its allies, the United States and Europe, increased. At the same time, the closeness is increasing with anti-Western Russia and China.
Jeffrey Mankoff, an analyst at the Washington, DC-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, said, “Many officials and political leaders in Western countries are upset with Turkey’s Erdogan. They expressed disappointment in him. They believe that Erdogan is the main reason for Turkey’s growing distance from the West. He took everything personally and walked the path of cheap popularity.’
Therefore, with Erdogan ruling Turkey for the past 20 years, there has been a major change in Turkey’s foreign policy as well as socio-economic development. As a result of his long rule, he made many enemies and allies at home and abroad. Now it’s time to just watch, as Turkey’s economy is also seen as a big factor in this election. Will Erdogan be able to restore Turkey’s conventional economy, and how will he repay the public’s trust? These questions have become important.
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