May 16, 2023
The Turkish Election
When I read that the presidential election in Turkey was close — there would have to be a runoff — I felt a frisson of hope. President Erdogan is a strong-arm autocrat who has blocked Sweden’s entry into NATO. His opponent, Kilicdaroglu, is a Western-leaning democrat and would be a far more reliable ally if he were in power. Reality set in. Erdogan failed to get 50% of the votes — hence the runoff — but he got about ten percent more votes than Kilicdaroglu, and there’s no prospect that Kilicdaroglu can make up the deficit in the runoff. By their nature, autocrats are exceptionally difficult to dislodge. They put mechanisms in place that enable them to retain power. When they are defeated, it’s usually by another autocrat.