Could Turkey’s Inflation Crisis Have a Negative Impact on Erdogan’s Re-Election Prospects?

Just a month ahead of Turkey’s upcoming elections on May 14, the inflation crisis is proving to be a major campaign issue as six opposition parties coalesce around Kemal Kilicdaroglu in a bid to offer President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the strongest challenge he has ever faced.

However, according to analysts, anger with Erdogan’s economic leadership cannot necessarily be translated directly into votes for Kilicdaroglu, given the dominance of cultural issues in Turkish politics.

Erdogan’s economic promises took centre-stage when he launched his presidential election campaign in mid-April, more than two weeks after CHP leader Kilicdaroglu.

Meanwhile, the country’s inflation crisis has hit crisis point, with the most recent official statistics showing inflation at over 50% year-on-year in March, after reaching its highest level in 25 years in October.

The Turkish lira hit a record low against the dollar in March and experts attribute this crisis to Erdogan’s belief, contrary to economic data, that high interest rates fuel inflation, leading him to cut rates instead of the necessary tight monetary policy to reduce inflation.

Although polls suggest Erdogan is losing support in the present economic climate, it is unclear whether this will translate to success for Kilicdaroglu.

Disillusionment with Erdogan may be widespread, but scepticism towards the opposition is high, meaning that some AKP voters may ultimately return to Erdogan.

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