Turkey’s European Story Is Likely Over
Hi, everyone. I’m Dave Keating, bringing you a final edition of WPR’s Europe Decoder newsletter from Brussels, where European Union officials are still digesting the surprise result of Sunday’s Turkish general election, which saw the presential race headed for a second-round runoff. While President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s antagonism toward the EU and NATO has won him few friends here, many are also wondering if the runoff might present a case of “better the devil you know,” given that a change in government could confront the EU with difficult questions it isn’t quite ready to answer.
Polls had predicted a win in the first round for the centrist opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who had pledged to restore cordial relations with the EU. The forecasts suggesting Erdogan’s impending defeat seemed easy enough to believe, given his administration’s poor management of the Turkish economy and the devastating earthquakes that struck the country earlier this year. But when the final votes were counted, Kilicdaroglu’s National Alliance coalition had been trounced in the legislative contests by Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party and its partners the Nationalist Movement Party, with the ruling coalition retaining its strong majority in parliament.