Turkey’s economic woes, compounded by the coronavirus pandemic, are increasingly forcing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to consider early elections, leaving him stuck between pressure to reassert his leadership and fear of losing.

The next presidential and parliamentary elections are three years away, but talk of early polls is already abuzz amid the bruising impact of the pandemic. Many observers reckon that waiting for 2023 could augment the risks for Erdogan, who is facing an opposition enlarged by splinter movements from his Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Turkey plunged into economic turmoil in mid-2018, shortly after Erdogan was reelected under a new governance system that concentrated power in the president’s hands. The Turkish economy, which grew only about 1% last year, was still fragile when the coronavirus hit in March and was probably bruised worse than many other economies.

Written by Mustafa Sönmez