In Turkey, the AKP’s COVID-19 Strategy Could Be Its Downfall

May 8, 2020 | 10:00 GMT

Pedestrians wearing masks walk down a street in Istanbul’s Eminonu district on May 5, 2020.

Pedestrians wearing masks walk down a street in Istanbul’s historic Eminonu district on May 5, 2020. Many stores remain closed in Istanbul, which has become the epicenter of Turkey’s COVID-19 epidemic. 

(Diego Cupolo/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Amid the escalating domestic and global fallout from the COVID-19 crisis, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) faces an unprecedented political and economic challenge with few viable ways out. To bolster what remains of its legitimacy ahead of 2023 elections, the ruling party will likely double down on nationalist and protectionist policies. But by failing to address the core issues plaguing Turkey’s economy, including high unemployment and growing debt, these short-term power grabs will also ultimately fail to secure the AKP’s place in power. And as a result, the country’s deepening financial crisis may see the early demise of not only Turkish businesses, but the AKP’s continued political dominance. ...

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