Οι πολιτικές προοπτικές της Τουρκίας για το 2018

Turkey’s 2018 political outlook
In the coming year, Turkey is likely to face many of the same risks that it experienced during 2017 – specifically civil unrest, foreign policy tensions, an unsettled economy, and a continued threat from terrorist groups.

2017 was marked by political tensions in Turkey. On 16 April, the narrow victory of the ‘yes’ camp in the constitutional referendum paved the way for the implementation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s plan to install a presidential system of government after the 2019 elections. Allegations of irregularities during the vote have exacerbated tensions in the country, even as relations between Turkey and its traditional Western allies deteriorated.

Alongside rising political risk, foreign investors will also have to contend with the country’s faltering economy, which is still affected by the aftermath of the 2016 failed coup. Security risk will remain high, fueled by the ongoing insurgency of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the south-east of Turkey, as well as the presence of Islamic State (IS) cells across the country.

Domestic affairs

Turkeys 2018 political agenda will be shaped by three ballots due the following year: municipal elections in March 2019, and the parliamentary and presidential elections in November 2019. Following these votes, the current parliamentary system will be replaced by an executive presidential system of government that will significantly increase the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s powers. Among the changes introduced by theconstitutional reform, the President will become head of the executive as well as head of state. Erdogan will be able to appoint ministers, prepare the budget, choose the majority of senior judges and enact certain laws by decree.
Erdogans party, the ruling religiously conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP) will likely win the elections and remain in power until 2024. Although the AKP suffers from a popularity deficit since the referendum, Erdogan still has considerable political capital. Moreover, it is likely that the government will use the state of emergency law to intensify its policy of arbitrary arrests in the run-up of the 2019 elections. This will likely result in the imprisonments of political opponents at home and the implementation of clandestine networks to target dissidents abroad.
The political opposition is too disunited and marginalized to pose a serious threat to the AKPs dominance over the countrys political sphere. While the right-wing Nationalist Action Party (MHP) has flip-flopped and gave its support to the constitutional reform, the pro-Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party (HDP) has been weakened by successive waves of arrests and run the risk of falling below the 10% national vote threshold for parliamentary representation. In this context, President Erdogan only credible challenger seems to be Meral Aksener, also known as Turkey’s ‘Iron Lady.’
A career politician, Aksener served as Minister of the Interior and was a vice-speaker of the parliament. After breaking away from the MHP, she set up the Good Party (IP), a centre-right opposition party. She will run against Mr. Erdogan in the critical 2019 elections, where she will try to capture the conservative vote of the disillusioned constituents with the president’s almost authoritarian control over the country. However, her hopes of winning are slight, as she would need the support of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and has to attract votes from Kurds and nationalists, who currently vote for the AKP.
Protestors in favor of the constitutional changes rally in the Netherlands.
Protestors in favor of the constitutional changes rally in the Netherlands.

Foreign policy

Turkish diplomacy shifted focus in 2017. The country drew closer to Russia, China and Iran, while relations with its Western allies deteriorated, a trend that is expected to continue into 2018.

Concern over the risk of Turkey leaving NATO has been growing since September, after the country signed a controversial deal with Russia to arm its forces with Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missiles, which are not interoperable with NATO’s air-defense system. Sanctions could be imposed by the United States: Russian arms companies involved in the deal have recently been blacklisted by the State Department, in order to punish Russia for its alleged 2016 election meddling.
The deal marked the beginning of a series of events that led to unprecedented tensions between Turkey and the US. The arrest of Metin Opuz, a staff member of the US Consulate in Istanbul, led the US Embassy in Ankara to halt all of its non-immigrant visa services. Turkey responded in kind. Separately, US aid to Syrian Kurdish militias which Turkey considers to be affiliates of the PKK terrorist group, and Washington’s refusal to extradite Fethullah Gülen (who Erdogan believes is behind the 2016 failed coup) are sticking-points that are unlikely to change in 2018.
Relations between the European Union (EU) and Turkey are also in disarray, as several EU countries, including Germany and France, have been outraged by the arrest of several EU citizens in Turkey. The case of a group of human rights activists detained in July is particularly sensitive. Among them was Peter Steudtner, a German national, whose arrest was denounced by Chancellor Angela Merkel as “absolutely unjustified”. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel called for a “reorientation” of relations between the countries and warned German businesses about operating in Turkey.
Germany’s refusal to allow Turkish ministers to campaign in the country prior to the constitutional referendum also proved controversial, as did the German parliamentary vote in June 2016 that recognized the Armenian genocide. Last but not least, Erdogan’s ambition of holding a referendum on reinstating the death penalty could deliver the coup de grâce to Turkey’s moribund accession negotiations with the EU, as it is not line with the Guidelines on Death Penalty adopted by the Council of the European Union in 1998.
Despite these tensions, there will not be a complete breakdown of Turkey’s relations with Western allies in 2018. Quite simply, this would compromise vitally important policies and strategic interests on both sides. These include the EU-Turkey migrant deal, the presence of the US-led coalition forces at Incirlik air base, and the fight against terrorist organizations in the Middle East. However, Turkey’s relations with the US and the EU will increasingly be restricted to a transactional strategic partnership.
Relations with Russia have improved since Turkey’s shooting down of a Russian warplane on its border with Syria back in November 2015. That said, trust between the two countries is low. The future of the Syrian conflict is an important indicator, as the two countries have been pursuing opposing goals in Syria.
Russian President Vladimir Putin with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Russian President Vladimir Putin with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Economy and business environment

Following the coup attempt in July 2016 and the proclamation of martial law, the business environment has been unpredictable: the government has seized more than 800 companies worth 40.3 billion lira ($11.32 billion).
Turkey’s economy has held up relatively well, mainly thanks to the country’s diversified private business sector, its robust public finances, and its well-regulated banking sector. However, it is still threatened by the problems of rising inflation and high interest rates. In November 2017, the Turkish Central Bank announced it would start auctioning foreign exchange hedging instruments that would allow companies with foreign currency liabilities to protect themselves against any drops in the lira. The Central Bank is likely to keep a restrictive monetary policy to address the acceleration of inflation and to prevent another decline of the lira’s value.
A weaker lira would make Turkish goods and services relatively cheaper, which might boost the country’s exports of goods and services. Moreover, the Kremlin announced in May 2017 that it was lifting most of the sanctions imposed on Turkey after the fighter jet incident. This will bring some relief for Turkey’s economy, whose tourism industry had been seriously undermined by a ban on Russian package tours.


Finally, ongoing violence in Syria and Iraq, which share a border with Turkey, poses serious security threats. This risk is reinforced by the deployment of Turkish military forces in two regions of Syria, and by the presence of IS-affiliated terrorist cells across the country. As the major purge in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and the police after the 2016 coup has seriously constrained the operational capacity of the security forces, it is likely that the terrorist threat will cast a shadow over 2018.

Δεν υπάρχουν σχόλια:

Δημοσίευση σχολίου

Υφίσταται μετριασμός των σχολίων.

- Παρακαλούμε στα σχόλια σας να χρησιμοποιείτε ένα όνομα ή ψευδώνυμο ( Σχόλια από Unknown θα διαγράφονται ).
- Παρακαλούμε να μη χρησιμοποιείτε κεφαλαία γράμματα στη σύνταξη των σχολίων σας.