Erdogan Is Fighting Wars on Three Fronts

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from Bloomberg Businessweek,

“What the country needs is a stable, democratic government and an independent central bank.”

For a few years, Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared unassailable. As prime minister and now as president, he kept Turkey out of the turmoil afflicting its neighbors and reigned over what seemed to be an unstoppable economy.

That era is over. Turkey’s military has struck at targets in Syria and Iraq—at a new enemy, Islamic State, and an old foe, Kurdish militants, as the region’s violence has seeped over the border into Turkey’s southeast. At the same time, the economy has finally succumbed to politics and global forces. And inconclusive elections in June have given investors, who were already exiting emerging markets, more reasons to avoid Turkey.

The armed conflict has exposed Turkey’s mixed motives. The U.S. hailed Turkey’s decision in July to begin air strikes against Islamic State. Yet that assault was almost immediately overshadowed by Turkey’s parallel operations against Kurdish militants in Iraq, whom the U.S. counts as allies against Islamic State. Turkey sees the Kurds’ growing role in the region as stoking statehood ambitions among its own Kurdish population.

The fighting comes at a delicate moment in Turkish politics. After his party failed to form a coalition government with any of its rivals, Erdogan announced fresh elections for Nov. 1. Opinion polls suggest another hung parliament is likely. The country is being run by a caretaker government.

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