Turkey after the referendum: The behavior of Erdogan at home and abroad is not going to change

People light bonfires as they watch a torch procession up a hill during celebrations of the Kurdish New Year Newroz in Akre, Aqrah, Kurdistan Region, northern Iraq. EPA, GAILAN HAJIPeople light bonfires as they watch a torch procession up a hill during celebrations of the Kurdish New Year Newroz in Akre, Aqrah, Kurdistan Region, northern Iraq. EPA, GAILAN HAJI

By Ilias Kouskouvelis

It was certainly interesting to follow the referendum procedures in Turkey, even though no one had doubts about its outcome.  The “yes” vote has by all means prevailed..! And even if it had not, most likely the referendum would have been repeated…

However, we must not miss the wood for the “tree” of the referendum. And in this case, the wood is the whole picture; in other words, what we actually know about the situation in Turkey. These are the very elements that will determine the future of this country, as well as its relations with its neighbors:

1.     Erdogan, already enjoyed and exercised most of the powers that the referendum offered him. The referendum has just formalized the situation and added a few more, such as the control of the judiciary system.
2.     The accumulation of powers has led him, and will further lead him to more and harsher authoritarian conduct. This of course, coupled with the slight prevalence of the “yes” vote, will continue generating reactions and exacerbation of frictions in Turkey.
3.     Erdogan is leading a large state with a population of approximately 80 million people. This creates an issue of a favorable to it balance of power (in relation to all its neighbors), especially since Turkey is a state that constantly and systematically increases its weapon systems, and aims to acquire armaments of strategic nature (i.e., nuclear, missiles, etc.).
4.     Erdogan has domestically two open fronts: that of terrorism and that of the Kurds. To these two, one could add the front of the “no” vote, mainly Kemalists. And who knows, it is possible that the Armed Forces have not yet said their final word…
5.     He also has two external fronts: Iraq and Syria. It is only a matter of time that a Kurdish state is recognized in Iraq and an autonomous Kurdish structure emerges in Syria.
6.     Finally, the economy being on a downfall and expected to further deteriorate should not be ignored.

Based on the above, the behavior of Erdogan and Turkey at home and abroad is not going to change much, especially when, for his behavior abroad, he doesn’t suffer any costs…  The only way left to him, is the way forward!

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