Major Election in Turkey Could Impact Fate of the Region

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The Turkish Presidential election is set to go for a run-off, with no clear majority winner in the first round, according to Market Watch. The current President of Turkey, Recep Erdogan, has held the office since 2014. Erdogan has proved to be a thorn in the side of Europe, using the threat of releasing Middle Eastern migrants as a bargaining chip.

Turkey under Erdogan has been a wildcard on geopolitical issues. Its fight against Kurdish rebels on its own territory has put it in opposition to the US and the rest of NATO’s support of Kurdish “Syrian Democratic Forces.” It has made some previous overtures to the Russian government, such as purchasing its S-400 missile system, while also selling deadly Baryatkar drones to Ukraine in its fight against Russia. Turkey’s independent foreign policy has caused headaches for all its neighbors, never totally aligning with any side, but that has also made it an indispensable force in many regional issues.

Erdogan’s domestic policy can be roughly summarized as “democratic Islamism”, loosening secularist laws that were suppressing the wear of the headscarf in public buildings. In practice however, Erdogan is often seen by the Western press as a quasi-authoritarian, leaving the final electoral count as uncertain. He was previously the victim of a failed coup in 2016 by certain members of the military that Erdogan blamed on Fethullah Gullen, an exiled cleric currently residing in the United State.


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