ASSESSMENTS

As Opposition Builds, Turkey's Erdogan Grasps at Straws

MIN READJul 26, 2019 | 09:00 GMT

Protesters rally in front of Caglayan courthouse in Istanbul on July 18, 2019, in support of Canan Kaftancioglu, a local opposition party leader who faces up to 17 years in prison for allegedly insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Protesters rally in front of Caglayan courthouse in Istanbul on July 18, 2019, in support of Canan Kaftancioglu, a local opposition party leader who faces up to 17 years in prison for allegedly insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in tweets posted between 2012 and 2017.

(OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)

Even for the wiles of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the task of governing Turkey is becoming increasingly daunting. The economy is languishing in recession as the United States and Europe mull sanctions against Ankara, while a volatile southern border with Syria and Iraq is posing problems for Turkey's relations with Russia, Syria, Iran and, once more, the United States. Worse for Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) he leads, the once seemingly unassailable political machine he's built since the turn of the century seems to have run out of gas after shock defeats in Ankara and Istanbul's mayoral contests this year. Although it forced a rerun of the Istanbul vote, the AKP's political machine failed to beat the resurgent candidate of the Republican People's Party; in fact, its loss the second time around was close to 60 times worse than its initial reverse on March 31. And now,...

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