Erdogan in Trouble

His Biggest Challenge Is President Abdullah Gul, Not Liberals

Workers hang portraits of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, President Abdullah Gul, and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan before a groundbreaking ceremony for the third Bosphorus bridge linking the European and Asian sides of Istanbul May 29, 2013. (Murad Sezer / Courtesy Reuters)

In some circles, it is almost a matter of faith that the ongoing protests in Turkey will not have any serious political consequences for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As CFR Fellow Steven Cook wrote on this week, “Even today, as the tear gas continues to fly, there is no question that Erdogan would win an election.” The assumption is that the prime minster can still rely on at least the passive support of the 50 percent of the population that cast their votes for his Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the last election, held in 2011. Even if they are not entirely happy with his behavior, the thinking goes, they are not ready to withdraw their backing -- good news for Erdogan, who would like to crown himself president next year. Yet it would be a mistake to assume that Erdogan’s supporters are with him for the long haul. In the end, the Taksim Square protests -- and the prime minister’s response to them -- have likely marked the end of an era.

As many have pointed out, the protesters in Istanbul and other Turkish cities mainly hail from the secular and liberal urban middle class. Yet they are far from alone in their weariness of Erdogan’s growing

Log in or register for free to continue reading.

Registered users get access to one free article every month.

Browse Related Articles on {{}}

{{ | number}} Articles Found

  • {{bucket.key_as_string}}