Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

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.

The backstory: Erdogan entered Turkish politics in the 1970s, crusading against the establishment and branding himself a people’s politician. When he came to power in 2002, he promised to make Turkey freer and more equal. Although he has since delivered strong economic growth, his recent record has been more mixed:

  • Erdogan ended discrimination against pious citizens, but then turned the table: The government now discriminates against those who don’t identify with the conservative Sunni Islam he practices.
  • He has extended the state of emergency set in the aftermath of a failed 2016 coup 7 times, using it to oppress liberals, Kurdish nationalists and other groups. A number of people he's had arrested have died in jail while waiting to appear in court. There is little doubt he would face prosecution after losing the elections.
  • With Turkish democracy nosediving, Freedom House changed its classification last year to "Not Free." This is why, when he announced his election manifesto on June 7, he promised free cake and coffee rather than further liberties.

Erdogan has now fully assumed the role of what he set out to fight — the establishment that punishes — and his brand is eroding. Once respected, Erdogan is now trolled on social media, especially by the younger half of Turkey's population, most of whom have known no other leader.

The bottom line: Erdogan is not likely to take recent political indicators as a warning sign to change course. In fact, he will probably become even more authoritarian after Sunday, knowing that a majority of his citizens no longer support him and that when left to true democratic devices, Turkish society will vote him out. The bad news for Turkey is that the Erdogan miracle is over; the worse news is that there seems to be no escape from him.

Soner Cagaptay is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the author of "The New Sultan: Erdogan and the Crisis of Modern Turkey."

Go deeper

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Sources say Beto plans Texas comeback in governor’s race

Former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke speaks during the Georgetown to Austin March for Democracy rally on July 31, 2021, in Austin, Texas. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is preparing to run for governor of Texas in 2022, with an announcement expected later this year, Texas political operatives tell Axios.

Why it matters: O'Rourke's entry would give Democrats a high-profile candidate with a national fundraising network to challenge Republican Gov. Greg Abbott — and give O’Rourke, a former three-term congressman from El Paso and 2020 presidential candidate and voting rights activist, a path to a political comeback.

Texas doctor says he performed an abortion in violation of state law

Pro-choice protesters march down Congress Avenue and back to the Texas state capitol in Austin, Texas, in July 2021. Photo: Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

A Texas doctor disclosed in an op-ed in the Washington Post on Saturday that he has performed an abortion in violation of the state's restrictive new abortion law, which effectively bans the procedure after six weeks.

Why it matters: Alan Braid's op-ed is a direct disclosure that will very likely result in legal action, thereby setting it up as a potential test case for how the abortion ban will be litigated, notes the New York Times.

Mike Allen, author of AM
6 hours ago - Technology

Axios interview: Facebook to try for more transparency

Nick Clegg last year. Photo: Matthew Sobocinski/USA Today via Reuters

Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president of global affairs, tells me the company will try to provide more data to outside researchers to scrutinize the health of activity on Facebook and Instagram, following The Wall Street Journal's brutal look at internal documents.

Driving the news: Clegg didn't say that in his public response to the series. So I called him to push for what Facebook will actually do differently given the new dangers raised by The Journal.