Turkey’s historic election: last off-ramp before dictatorship?



President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is campaigning for re-election, seized on the latest Turkish growth figures as a vindication of his economic policies in the face of skepticism from not only voters but international investors of the country’s economic strength, VOA’s Dorian Jones reports:

Analysts predict the two-pronged attack by Erdogan’s challengers over the economy is likely to intensify, as economic concerns are expected to continue to dominate the critical elections.

“This election cycle is happening against a background of a volatile economic environment with a lot of stress on the currency with uncertainty where the economy is heading. This is turning the election campaign into a less certain outcome,” said Sinan Ulgen, head of the Istanbul-based Edam think tank.

With Erdogan poised to assume even greater powers if he wins, these elections have been described as Turkey’s last off-ramp before dictatorship, notes the Project on Middle East Democracy, a partner of the National Endowment for Democracy.

In a first for Turkish democracy, voters will be choosing both the next president and the next parliament when they go to the polls on June 24, The Washington Institute notes. The election will also usher in a new system granting wider powers to the president, abolishing the post of prime minister, and increasing the number of parliamentary seats. What lies ahead for Turkey after a vote that may prove to be its most contested and controversial in recent memory? And how might the results and the new structural changes affect Ankara’s foreign policy orientation?

To discuss these issues, The Washington Institute will host a Policy Forum featuring:

Col. Rich Outzen is a senior U.S. Army advisor and a member of the State Department Policy Planning Staff. Previously, he served with the Office of Defense Cooperation in Ankara and taught courses on Middle East issues at the National Defense University.

Lisel Hintz is an assistant professor of international relations and European studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. She has spoken and written widely on Turkey’s relations with the EU, its policies toward the Kurds, its role in Syria, and its growing “Ottoman Islamism.”

Nick Danforth is a senior analyst for the Bipartisan Policy Center’s National Security Project. He completed his Ph.D. in history at Georgetown University and has written widely about Turkish issues in the Atlantic, Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, Al Jazeera, and other outlets.

Soner Cagaptay is the Beyer Family Fellow and director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute. His publications include the 2017 book The New Sultan: Erdogan and the Crisis of Modern Turkey.

MONDAY, JUNE 25, 2018 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM

This event will be held at The Washington Institute, 1111 19th Street NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC, 20036. It will also be broadcast live on the WINEP website. RSVP

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