The Sunday Times newspaper covered the Turkish elections, which are witnessing a decisive round in the presidential race.
Under the headline: “Winning the elections will leave Erdoğan in a quagmire of his own making,” The Sunday Times correspondent in Istanbul, Louise Callahan, wrote that if Erdoğan wins, as opinion polls indicate, “Türkiye’s problems will have just begun”.
The correspondent said that opposition voters will drag themselves today to the polling stations, with a sense of defeat and fear that they have lost their best chance to overthrow the incumbent president.
What does five more years of Erdoğan’s rule mean for Türkiye?
Callahan stated that Erdoğan’s popular base is fading, after he achieved the lowest level of popular mobilization in the presidential elections in the first round, despite his narrow victory over his rival Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.
Callahan considered that if he wins, he will remain at the head of a country facing many deep crises, which he made to some extent with his own hands, according to the author.
Callaghan described Türkiye as economically weak and broken, suffering from spiraling inflation as the value of the local currency plummeted.
She referred to the repercussions of the devastating February earthquake that killed tens of thousands.
She said the judiciary was devastated and oppressed after Erdoğan’s purges, anti-liberalism was on the rise and the country had no chance of joining the European Union any time soon.
She continued by saying that Erdoğan’s foreign policy victories are commensurate with his popular base, but they don’t achieve stability, prosperity and growth at the local level.
Callahan stated that Türkiye controls parts of northern Syria, but its sworn enemies – the Syrian Kurds – still control large parts of Türkiye’s southern borders, which endangers its national security.
The deterioration of the Turkish economy is alarming, and that Erdoğan’s pledge to continue reducing interest rates led, after years, to a doubling of the inflation rate.
What will happen to the refugees after the Turkish elections?
“In the midst of the battle for the presidency, something rotten has emerged in the center of Turkiye… Sometimes it seems that the only thing that unites this country of about 85 million people is its hatred of Syrian refugees,” she added.
She pointed out that the Syrians feared being attacked.
She talked about the looting of shops and killings that families suspect are racially motivated.
For Callahan, open anti-refugee feelings are normal among large segments of Turkish society, and have been for a long time.
She added that the old divide between secular and religious Turks is becoming less relevant, with people from across the political spectrum moving instead to hardline forms of nationalism.
With this, Türkiye’s future looks very bleak, regardless of who the winner is.