Earthquake compounds Turkish leader's woes as election nears

English News 11 Feb 2023 13

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan came to power 20 years ago riding a wave of public outrage..

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan came to power 20 years ago riding a wave of public outrage toward the previous government's handling of a deadly earthquake.

Now, three months away from an election, Erdogan’s political future could hinge on how the public perceives his government's response to a similarly devastating natural disaster.

“It is going to be a big challenge for Erdogan, who has established a brand for himself as an autocratic figure but an efficient one that gets the job done,” said Soner Cagaptay, a Turkey expert at the Washington Institute and the author of several books on Erdogan.

The aftermath of a massive earthquake isn't the only parallel to the election of 2002. Back then, Turkey was in the midst of a financial crisis that was punishing its economy.

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