After his narrow but clear victory in the runoff election, the old and new Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will probably rule even more authoritarian than in previous years. In fact, after this election, the President has every second Turk against him. It would be obvious to offer reconciliation. But the speech Erdoğan gave after the election victory suggests the opposite. The conservative Islamist politician is only likely to fight any type of opposition more uncompromisingly.
One sentence in his speech caused a stir: “We will not only be together until Sunday, but until the grave.” Critics say the 69-year-old might want to rule for life. He has instruments for this in the fight against the opposition: the judiciary, which has long since ceased to be independent. A parliament dominated by their own party alliance after the election. And the largely synchronized media. Reconciliation with the Kurds through the release of the imprisoned Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş is out of the question. During the election campaign, Erdoğan called the former co-head of the pro-Kurdish party HDP a “terrorist” and threw parts of the opposition into the same pot because of their cooperation with the HDP. The long-running ban proceedings against the HDP could now be completed. A release of the cultural patron Osman Kavala seems just as unthinkable. The same applies to activists convicted of the 2013 Gezi protests.
The neutralization of any opposition could also be aimed at the centre-left CHP party, for which the opposing candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu had led the alliance of Erdoğan opponents. Defamation proceedings had already been conducted against Istanbul’s Mayor Ekrem Imamoğlu before the election. The CHP politician, who is touted as the future leader of the opposition, could now be imprisoned. In his election victory speech, Erdoğan announced that he wanted to win back the big cities in the local elections: Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir are governed by the CHP. Without the mayors from the opposition, Erdoğan could rule through.
Turkey is threatened with grueling years. In terms of foreign policy, Erdogan stands for new conflicts with the EU, the USA and NATO. It remains to be seen at what price Ankara will give up the blockade of Sweden’s NATO membership. The continuation of the refugee agreement with the EU will also cost money: Erdoğan had promised the electorate that he would expel the four million Syrian refugees.
Since the opposition had also promised the repatriation of the Syrians in a drastic about-face after the electoral success of several nationalist parties before the run-off election, Erdoğan could get serious or use threats to force new financial concessions from the EU. Overall, however, the economy will be decisive: If Erdoğan continues his ruinous course in monetary and interest rate policy, Turkey is threatened with recession and collapse. At that point at the latest, Erdoğan’s fans could start thinking.