Stories by Soner Cagaptay

Expert Voices

U.S. sanctions could hurt Turkish economy but strengthen Erdogan

Turkish President Erdogan receives information about the current construction process of the Camlica Mosque from an engineer in Istanbul, Turkey on August 05, 2018.
Turkish President Erdogan receives information about the current construction process of the Camlica Mosque from an engineer in Istanbul on August 05, 2018. Photo: Kayhan Ozer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Washington slapped sanctions on two Turkish cabinet ministers on August 1, freezing their assets in response to the arrest of Pastor Andrew Brunson and other U.S. citizens. Meanwhile, the lira has continued its slide, shedding 6% of its value in less than a week.

The big picture: The Turkish economy, already in a fragile state before sanctions, could well melt down. But while the sanctions might cripple Turkey’s economy, they are unlikely to pose a threat to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s power.

Expert Voices

Political divide deepening in Turkey as Erdogan assumes more power

A giant campaign poster of Turkey's President Erdogan next to a Turkish flag.
Turkish flags next to a portrait of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as he gives a speech during a pre-election rally in Istanbul on June 17, 2018. Photo: Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images

Following his electoral victory on June 24, President Erdogan assumed new and sweeping executive powers on July 9. He is now the head of state, government, the army, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the national police force.

The big picture: With the prerogative to appoint a majority of the judges to the Turkish high courts and his control of the country’s legislature, Erdogan has become the most unassailable Turkish leader since Mustafa Kemal Ataturk established modern Turkey as a secular republic in 1923.

Expert Voices

Erdogan enters Turkish elections with more power but less support

Erdogan speaks at a party rally
Turkish President Erdogan at a Justice and Development Party rally in Sanliurfa, Turkey, on June 20, 2018. Photo: Kayhan Ozer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Opinion polls suggest a tight race in Sunday’s Turkish elections, when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces off against two opposition candidates. The winner will enter office with new presidential powers, granted by an April 2017 referendum.

The big picture: The race has been an unfair one: Votes will be cast under a state of emergency, the government is censoring online content, and pro-Erdogan businessescontrol around 90% of the national media, which has covered Erdogan more often and more favorably than his opponents. Erdogan needs these advantages: he now represents the status quo in Turkey, and has few enticements to offer the electorate.