Analysis: Erdogan, struggle for way out of early election funnel

Analysis: Erdogan, struggle for way out of early election funnel

Amid the continuous slump of the Turkish national currency lira price, early elections demand by the opposition to end two decades of Recep Tayyip Erdogan rule of the country is stirring a heated debate of the media and political circles these days.

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): Amid the continuous slump of the Turkish national currency lira price, early elections demand by the opposition to end two decades of Recep Tayyip Erdogan rule of the country is stirring a heated debate of the media and political circles these days. 

Over the past few days, lira crashed to a record low of 17 to the US dollar, with economists' forecasts suggesting that by the year's end the fall could reach 20. 

The economic crisis has been a source of a duel between President Erdogan and the opposition. His opponents want him out of power and arrangement of snap elections as a measure out of crisis. But his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) rejected going to election before schedule.

Opposition striving to sink Erdogan 

Opposition parties have called for new elections in the country over the past two months, following a widespread economic crisis and the collapse of the Turkish national currency. Leaders of major opposition parties have accused Erdogan of incompetence and called for early elections.

Leaders of political parties opposed to Erdogan have spoken out in critical speeches calling for Erdogan to step down.

"Our goal is for the children of this land not to go to bed hungry, and the only way to improve the situation is to put Erdogan and AKP aside," said People's Republican Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

Meral Akşener, the leader of Good Party and key partner to Kılıçdaroğlu in the parliamentary People's Coalition, attacked Erdogan with more fiery tone, saying "with the president's ignorant statements, our national currency and our economy are heading for ruin and bankruptcy." Calling Erdogan ignorant is first by Akşener and indicative of changing politics. 

Ahmet Davutoglu, the defected former prime minister and confidante to Erdogan, believes that there is a kind of intent in Erdogan economic speeches and remarks, and that he, despite knowing the market sensitivities, is raising the dollar with his words, thus openly attacking the national currency. 

Ali Babacan, the leader of opposition Democracy and Progress Party and ex-economy minister to Erdogan, on Saturday in an address called for an early vote to move out of crisis. 

In latest comments, Kılıçdaroğlu lashed out at Erdogan's economic policy and said that the government offers some guarantees for saving lira price but they do not exist in practice and that Erdogan cannot create an environment of trust in the market. So, an early election is necessary.

Meanwhile, media trumpeting of the opposition demands for election is making things tough for Erdogan. Leading papers like Cumhuryet, Aksam, Milliyet, and others in the past weeks saw their frontpages dedicated to the criticism against the government and the demands for early election. 

All the propaganda and stances of the political leaders opposed to AKP rule show that they intend to disarm Erdogan at the moment of the historic collapse of the Turkish economy and end his two-decade rule. To understand this, it is very significant to cite these data: After the AKP came to power in 2002, with the reforms made by this party, which was based on the removal of 6 zeros from the national currency of in 2006, each dollar was 1.5 lira. In 2015, each dollar rose to 2. 

In the current circumstances that lira dropped badly and experts suggest it could reach 19 for each dollar soon enough, the opposition factions are trying to tighten the noose on Erdogan using media to force him to an election to end his leadership. 

Erdogan seeking to restore credit and justify performance 

Contrary to the opposition's wishes, the AKP leaders have recently asserted their strong opposition to holding new elections. On December 21, Erdogan rejected the proposal of his opponents to hold early elections and stated that the elections will be held on the scheduled date, namely June 2023. In a statement issued Tuesday, the president stressed that the issue of early elections has been ruled out and Devlet Bahceli, the leader of Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) which shares power with the AKP, is for election at the scheduled time. 

This statement comes at a time when in November, Erdogan, responding to the opposition's call for early elections, said that the presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey will be held as scheduled in June 2023. 

In fact, in the one and a half years left to the new elections, Erdogan is trying to get the economy back on the track by improving employment and currency conditions and on the other hand regain his prestige and credibility as a one-time charismatic leader. The AKP has presented a plan of action to comprehensively get rid of the deteriorating economic crisis. 

According to the government's package of measures, exporting companies, which have difficulty pricing the foreign currency due to exchange rate fluctuations, will be updated regularly and directly about the price by the central bank. 

Turkey will adopt new financial mechanisms to bring "under-the-mattress savings" into the financial system, according to the president, who estimated that the residents' "under-the-mattress savings" include 5,000 tons of gold worth a total of 280 billion dollars. 

"In collaboration with market stakeholders, new mechanisms will be developed to integrate these gold stocks into the financial system and bring them into the economy," Erdogan went on. 

In general, Erdogan's program can be explained this way: He would announce state of emergency and raise the idea that lira price rally is possible using suppression of dollar prices in FX market. This, the president thinks, would yield results because in the free market there is systemic financial sabotage and manipulation of lira price to deal blows to the government. Experts,however, cast doubt on success of Erdogan's remedial measures and opposition parties call the plan a failure.


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