The Turkish pendulum and Erdogan’s friends

The Turkish pendulum and Erdogan’s friends

Recep Tayyip Erdogan is currently facing challenging times, and alongside him, authoritarian leaders from around the world are concerned about his fate. Recent opinion polls indicate that he is on the verge of losing the upcoming May 14 elections. If this happens, it would mean a significant loss for the global network of autocratic leaders, as Erdogan is considered a shining star in that galaxy.

Vladimir Putin, Alexander Lukashenko, Ali Khamenei, Kim Jong Un, Xi Jinping, along with other authoritarian leaders in the Arab world and Asia, as well as Nicolas Maduro in Latin America and Erdogan, have been forging alliances in recent years to establish a “new world” that aligns with their own autocratic regimes. This concerted effort is in direct opposition to the Western values and liberal democratic systems that stand in their way.

A defeat of Erdogan would undermine their emerging coalition.

Erdogan is a formidable leader who holds the reins of a country that, due to its strategic location, exerts influence over the geopolitical balance throughout Eurasia. If he were to lose the election and his successor, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, as he claims, redirects Turkey’s foreign policy toward the West, it would deal a significant blow to the web of authoritarian alliances. Russia would be the first to bear the consequences of such a shift.

If Erdogan loses, it would mean a significant loss for the global network of autocratic leaders

During these crucial hours of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict, Putin is set to lose a highly valuable ally, arguably the most significant one, alongside Lukashenko. Erdogan, by maintaining control over the Bosporus Strait, ensures that any potential Western military threat in the Black Sea is minimized. Simultaneously, he greatly assists Putin in circumventing international sanctions by effectively “laundering” goods and funds destined for Russia.

That is precisely why Putin, as a “friend, partner and brother,” has openly thrown his support behind Erdogan in the upcoming elections. He offers him facilitations in natural gas payments, enabling Erdogan to make campaign promises of free gas for all Turks for a year. Additionally, Putin sends millions of Russian tourists to visit Turkey. On the diplomatic front, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated in coordination with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, they are actively working toward reconciling Erdogan with Syria’s dictator, Bashar al-Assad.

And it’s not only Putin. Qatar is providing support to Turkish banks, and Saudi funds are being directed toward Erdogan to prevent a complete economic collapse in Turkey. The global camp of authoritarianism is on high alert.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama has also declared his allegiance to the Turkish leader. What does he have to offer? He offers Albania as Turkey’s Islamic foothold in the Balkans, even though he publicly expresses his desire for Albania to become a member of the EU. Some voices in Albania even suggest that there are financial obligations involved. All of them will be deeply saddened if Erdogan is defeated.

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