By Barış Soydan
September 8, 2023
Hailed by markets as the “savior” of the Turkish economy, Mehmet Şimşek has in fact launched policies whose price will be borne by large segments of the public. Tax hikes, although narrowing the budget deficit, will further fuel inflation, increasing poverty. In this respect, the new fiscal policy resurrects the paradigm that guided the IMF program in 2001. However, staying true to the spirit of the IMF program is a recipe for political troubles ahead for the Erdoğan regime. With municipal elections due in March 2024, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan may therefore well conclude that “heterodox” economic policies will have to be resurrected.
By Michaël Tanchum
August 23, 2023
The recent military coup in Niger marks the point of no return for the unraveling of France’s dominant economic and military influence across West Africa. Turkey is the foreign actor that stands to benefit most, with the potential to emerge as a leading strategic partner for the nations of the region. Turkey’s engagement with West Africa is a unique, dual approach that blends military and economic engagement while deftly intertwining humanitarian aid and cultural outreach. Ankara has already become a significant provider of weapons systems and military training while Turkish firms concurrently have been creating a commercial architecture of integrated manufacturing activity stretching from the Central Maghreb to coastal West Africa. As the interior territory within this architecture, the landlocked, Sahel nations of Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso, each now ruled by a military junta, present both challenges and opportunities for the advancement of Turkey’s ‘military industrial complex’ in West Africa.
By Barçın Yinanç
August 17, 2023
It is naïve to expect Turkey to distance itself from Russia. As in the past, Turkish-Russian cooperation will go hand in hand with competition as the two leaders cannot afford to sever their ties. Erdoğan is unlikely to pivot to the West at the expense of turning his back to Putin. He is likely to continue his careful balancing act between Russia and the West. While there are reasons that impel Erdoğan to improve Turkey’s relations with its Western partners, the Turkish president must in fact also make sure to nurture the relationship with Russia. Erdoğan will use the ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership and his ties to Putin as leverage on the EU.