Recep Tayyip Erdogan has officially joined the world’s strongman club
Championing the type of political and economic nationalism in vogue from Moscow to Beijing—even Washington—Erdogan, modern Turkey’s longest-serving ruler, cruised to an election victory this week and now wields sweeping new powers.
The massive opposition demonstrations in the days preceding the vote ended up providing compelling political theatre but little at the ballot box. His main opponent conceded defeat but said it wasn’t a fair race, citing a state of emergency in force since a failed coup in 2016, and with the president dominating the airwaves.
With virtually no checks on Erdogan’s control, and the loser showing no signs of trying to rally fresh protests, his primary task will be to fix a once-booming economy on the verge of a bust: a plunging currency, accelerating inflation and capital flight. The lira rallied on easing political uncertainty.
There’s plenty at stake: control of immigration into Europe, cooperation with NATO and security in Syria and Iraq. With Turkey’s bid for EU membership in the deep freeze, Erdogan has been cozying up to a leader who’s perfected the art of one-man rule—Vladimir Putin.