Muharrem İnce addresses a Republican People's Party meeting on May 4, 2018, in Ankara after being named the party's candidate to challenge President Erdoğan. Photo: Adem Altan/AFP via Getty Images

Turkey is slated to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24. The current leadership has moved the vote forward by 16 months in the hopes of avoiding fallout from a badly deteriorating economy.

Why it matters: For Erdoğan, the combined elections are a matter of political survival after more than 15 years in power. For the opposition, they represent the first serious opportunity to send the incumbent president into retirement. For the citizens of Turkey, this boils down to a choice between a one-man-rule system with no checks and balances and a possible return to a more liberal and parliamentary system of governance.

Turkey’s dual elections on Sunday are deeply flawed:

  • The country’s ongoing state of emergency favors the current leadership.
  • The new election law is less fraud-proof.
  • On-air reporting is massively unfair, to the benefit of the incumbent president.
  • Kurdish presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtaş — who is running his campaign from jail — has been threatened with capital punishment by President Erdoğan himself.

The possible outcomes:

  1. An Erdoğan victory would mean more Turkish hostility toward Western powers. The U.S. would face a host of grievances, including the F35 delivery schedule, the use of the İncirlik Air Base and support to Syrian Kurds. Turkey, meanwhile, would try to reap maximum concessions from the EU — on trade, visa-free travel to Europe and support for Syrian refugees — while eschewing alignment with EU governance and economic standards. More importantly, should Erdoğan emerge electorally victorious but politically weaker with a narrow electoral margin — a real possibility — tensions with the West would put him at greater risk of Russian manipulation against NATO.
  2. A victory for the strongest anti-Erdoğan contender, Muharrem İnce, backed by a united parliamentary majority, would lead to a more amicable relationship with the West, especially if Turkish politics returned to a rule-based system. But to earn credibility, this new leadership would have to quickly take a stand on restoring a strong relationship with NATO and relaunching peace talks with Turkey’s Kurds. These are no small endeavors.

The big picture: Most polls predict that Erdoğan will carry the presidency. In that event, liberties and tolerance in Turkey's diverse society would fall even further, followed by Turkey’s alliance with the West.

Marc Pierini is a former EU ambassador to Turkey and a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe.

Go deeper

Downtown Chicago hit by widespread looting

Police officers inspect a damaged Best Buy in Chicago that was looted and vandalized. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Chicago police responded to hundreds of people looting stores and causing widespread property damage in the city's downtown overnight, resulting in at least one exchange of gunfire, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The state of play: Police superintendent David Brown said the event was a coordinated response after an officer shot a suspect on Sunday evening, per CBS Chicago.

McDonald's sues former CEO, alleging he lied about relationships with employees

Former McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

McDonald's on Monday sued its former CEO Steve Easterbrook, seeking to recoup tens of millions in severance benefits while alleging he took part in and concealed undisclosed relationships with company employees, per the New York Times.

Why it matters: Corporations have traditionally chosen to ignore executive misbehavior to avoid bad press, but they have become more proactive — especially with the rise of the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements — in addressing issues head-on.

The transformation of the Fed

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Federal Reserve is undergoing an overhaul. Conceived to keep inflation in check and oversee the country's money supply, the central bank is now essentially directing the economy and moving away from worries about rising prices.

What we're hearing: The move to act less quickly and forcefully to tamp down on inflation has been in the works for years, but some economists fear that the Fed is moving too far from its original mandate.