For the last 22 years, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been dealing with what he inherited from himself in his previous term of government.
This time, Erdoğan inherited an economy in distress.
During the election process, he said that the Turkish economy was doing very well with some irritants, the major one being high inflation. Erdoğan explained to the electorate that these irritants have been caused by developments outside of Turkey, the major one being the war in Ukraine.
Erdoğan has promised to put the economy back on track and a “Century of Turkey”. Now he has to deliver.
Many Turks voted for him not because they were content with his politics, especially economic policies, but because they believed he was the only one who could get them out of the difficulties the country is facing. This is ironic because the underlying reason for their difficulties was basically Erdoğan's economic policies.
Since his election win, and until now, Erdoğan has demonstrated a relatively softer approach. His new cabinet has many familiar faces.
It is more like a shift within his long-time inner circle, bringing more open-minded and internationally-known political technocrats to the forefront, such as the ministers of finance, foreign affairs, interior and defence.
Local elections and a crumbling opposition
Erdoğan’s next target is local elections in March next year. He is intent on taking back Istanbul, Ankara, Antalya and other major cities which he lost to the opposition in the 2018 elections. These losses, especially in Istanbul, have been a major sore spot for him.
Erdoğan and his AKP will once again use the wealth they have accumulated in 22 years of governance and resources of the state, to finance the election campaign against an opposition which is still stunned by the defeat in the May elections.
The opposition political parties which formed the Nation Alliance have parted ways since the elections. The main opposition party, CHP, is in turmoil. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, its chairman, despite having lost in the elections yet again, retains his seat, claiming that as the captain, he has to navigate his ship to a safe port.
Millions of people who voted for the opposition are so dismayed that if there were to be an election tomorrow, many would not even go to the polls.
In the nine months remaining until the local election, what Erdoğan needs to do is to further weaken the opposition and improve the economy a bit. He will then call on the people not to trust the municipalities to a battered opposition with nothing to offer.