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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Sunday Vote in Turkey

For John, BLUFThis is one of those little noted, in the United States, elections that could have big impacts on us, as the results unfold.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

President looks set to win new term but economic pain and united opposition threaten his leadership

From The Wall Street Journal, by Mr David Gauthier-Villars, 22 June 2018.

Here is the lede plus four:

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is bidding to extend his 15-year rule on Sunday in elections that rivals deem unfair—a growing pattern in countries from Russia to Hungary to Egypt, where leaders are using ballots as a waypoint to cement their authoritarian grip on power.

But with economic woes weighing heavily on Turkish voters, Mr. Erdogan’s prospect of entering a five-year term with a rubber-stamp parliament isn’t guaranteed, threatening a period of uncertainty in this strategic linchpin between the West and the Middle East.

Since a 2016 military coup attempt that nearly swept him away, Mr. Erdogan has jailed former allies he accuses of plotting the attack and run the country under “extraordinary rule” that allows for exceptional police measures and governance by decree.  He has cracked down on political opponents and assembled a coterie of loyal oligarchs; he has repressed independent press and purged the military.

This one-man drive has given Mr. Erdogan unprecedented control over all state institutions, including the electoral authority, ahead of Sunday’s presidential and parliamentary ballots.  A re-elected Mr. Erdogan would also gain vastly expanded executive powers over legislation and the judiciary, thanks to constitutional changes voters narrowly approved last year.

And yet, unlike in Russia where President Vladimir Putin was re-elected with 77% of the votes in March, Turkish pollsters predict a divided result.

The Reporter uses the term "linchpin", and so Turkey is.  Turkey moving into instability would be bad for Europe, Asia and the Middle East.  It sits at the cross roads of Eurasia and if it does well others have a chance of doing well.  While I have no special affection for Mr Erdogan, I do wish the voters well in a very important decision.

Regards  —  Cliff

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