Foreign Policy - Erdogan may be too ill to continue leading Turkey
What if Erdogan is sick enough?
Since 2019, Turkish experts, journalists and opinion polls have been monitoring the Turkish general elections scheduled for 2023. This is probably due to the fact that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has suffered humiliating defeats with its mayoral candidates in its large populations. Turkey, including Istanbul, in the 2019 local elections.
Regular polls from these elections reveal that the AKP's popularity is not high, even if it retains control of Turkey's political institutions and the media. It seems that Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not very popular, especially among young people.
The Turkish president may indeed be vulnerable before 2023 - just not necessarily the way most people think. According to a post by the authoritative Foreign Policy, there are indications that he may be too ill to be able to run for re-election.
What the data show
In recent months, there have been reports that Tayyip Erdogan's health is not good. This, after all, is protested by various videos that have been leaked from time to time, infuriating the sultan who wants to look powerful.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan paid a visit to Anıtkabir, a member of the Supreme Military Council. Erdoğan As Aslanlı yolda yürürken zlanrdem olldem ogündem olduda. pic.twitter.com/dhhFs8AMgN
In addition to the above indications, there are rumors about the health of the Turkish president - including allegations that he wants to face respiratory problems, while he is said to have had an internal defibrillator implanted. According to these allegations, the Turkish president increased the number of doctors around him, reduced his meetings with the press and needed the help of painkillers before public events.
Of course, these rumors are spread more often by people outside Turkey and certainly not by the president's inner circle, so the allegations of a possible deterioration in his health may be simply unfounded.
What if Erdogan is sick enough?
But what if Erdogan is ill enough? What if, either due to illness or death, he is unable to run for re-election in 2023?
According to Article 106 of the Turkish Constitution, Vice President Fuat Oktay will assume the responsibilities and powers now held by Erdogan until elections are held (in 45 days) and a new president is sworn in. This is quite simple and typical. Turkish analysts have long speculated that in a post-Erdogan Turkey, the AKP would split in such a way as to pave the way for an election that could be won by any of Turkey's biggest opposition politicians.
The favorite could be Ekrem Imamoglu, who won a former AKP prime minister (twice) to become mayor of Istanbul. His Ankara counterpart, Mansour Yavas, is also considered a very good politician. And then there is Meral Aksener, leader of the IYI Parti, with a reputation for being tough like Margaret Thatcher.
However, according to the same publication, it is worth considering the possibility of someone else ruling Turkey after Erdogan, perhaps in a state of emergency. Among the most powerful figures in Turkey, besides Erdogan, are MIT chief Hakan Fidan, National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu. Of the three, Akar appears to be in the most advantageous position to take the lead.
Of course, there is no way to know the real state of Erdogan's health or who can succeed him, but analysts and government officials speculate that the Turkish president will run in the 2023 elections. If he does not, Turkish politics could return to something resembling the status quo ante, or cracks in the AKP may present opportunities for opposition, or the country may become more unstable.
In any case, it would be a great mistake to ignore the signs that Erdogan's health may be deteriorating.