In November, Erdoğan and his AKP have been in power for 20 years. Never before has a party or head of state governed Turkey without interruption for so long. Clearly, it is not easy – using populist, opportunist or Machiavellian methods – to win so many elections and change the country’s political system by popular vote.
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Unfortunately, this extraordinarily long reign is not due to the well-being of the population or the expansion of fundamental rights and freedoms. The point at which Turkey stands at the end of these 20 years is the end of almost all global indices. From human rights to education levels, we’ve hit bottom in countless areas. According to the Gothenburg University Democracy Ranking, we are 147th out of 179 countries. Even Rwanda and Bangladesh are ahead of us. The Shanghai ranking for academic success no longer has a single Turkish university among the top 400 universities in the world. And on the International Trade Union Confederation’s list, we’re one of the ten worst countries for workers in the world.
None of these negative records threatened Erdoğan’s 20-year government. However, the economic shocks could mean that he will have to say goodbye to the palace after the June 2023 elections. Do not read this as the hope of an opposition figure. The fact is: the worse the economy is, the more support for Erdoğan crumbles. Although the opposition has yet to nominate their presidential candidate, the latest poll indicates a defeat for Erdoğan. When asked: “Would you vote for Erdoğan or for the opposition candidate?” 55.6 percent of respondents answered that they would vote for the opposition candidate, only 33.3 percent for Erdoğan. Of course, Erdoğan could – literally – do anything to reverse this picture, but let’s get back to facts for now. In 2018, Erdoğan was elected with 52.59 percent, and the drop in votes over the past twelve months has been dramatic. While the whole world fights inflation by raising interest rates, Erdoğan swore by his thesis that inflation is the result of high interest rates and lowered interest rates. Erdoğan’s war on economics drove inflation so high that we broke the world record in that discipline as well. With the officially announced inflation rate of 80.21 percent, we even overtook Argentina and are now world champions. If the actual rate were known, we would not only break the record on Earth, but in the entire galaxy.
Hungry for school
What Erdoğan has cost one in three voters within a year was his panic reaction, with which he shook up the markets. Panic got him talking, and as soon as he spoke, the situation only got worse. When he announced on November 17, 2021 with the obsession with growth: “Interest is the cause, the result is inflation”, the inflation rate was 21 percent. A month after he announced it was “falling rapidly,” it surged over 36 percent. And immediately after he said, “Inflation is falling now, that’s for sure,” the palace-run statistics agency put it at 48 percent. Then he said: “After the month of May it will go back”, today it is number one in the world with 80.21 percent. Among the developing countries, we are the country whose currency is depreciating the fastest. In the first eight months of this year, the Turkish lira has fallen more than 25 percent against foreign currencies. Everything has become extremely expensive. For the amount we shelled out for a zero-mileage VW Golf seven years ago, we can hardly get the new iPhone today.