Autocracy, not reform, remains Erdoğan’s recipe for Turkey

Since May’s Turkish presidential election, Western analysts have been hoping that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will moderate his strongman style of rule. Several steps taken by Erdoğan fuel their optimism, including appointing market-friendly technocrats to his economic team, replacing the hardline interior minister, reducing anti-Western rhetoric and expressing his support for Sweden’s membership in NATO. All these measures, however, are aimed at strengthening Erdoğan’s one-man rule, and the West is helping him.

Erdoğan’s cabinet reshuffle brought in technocrats but also sidelined potential challengers – most notably Süleyman Soylu, a fiercely nationalist and anti-Western former interior minister once seen as the regime’s “second man.” After the elections, Erdoğan expelled him and began cleaning the Turkish bureaucracy of Soylu loyalists.

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Photo: Murat Cetinmuhurdar/PPO/Reuters

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