A return to orthodox economic policies is a key election pledge of Turkey’s opposition bloc. However, the colossal damage of the February earthquakes will make its task much harder should it win the May 14 presidential and parliamentary polls.

Turkey’s economic turmoil is a top issue on the election platform of the six-party Nation Alliance, which is mounting the strongest challenge yet to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP), in power for two decades. Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party, is the joint presidential candidate of the alliance, which includes disenchanted former associates of Erdogan, among them Ali Babacan, who presided over the economy in its heyday under the AKP and is well regarded by foreign investors.

The opposition blames Turkey’s economic woes on ill-advised government policies, especially after Erdogan assumed sweeping executive powers in 2018. Defying conventional theory, Erdogan has argued that high interest rates cause high inflation and pressed the Central Bank to lower its policy rate despite soaring prices. The bank has delivered a series of cuts since September 2021, at the expense of a plunging currency and runaway inflation, which peaked to 85.5% in October 2022.



Written by Mustafa Sönmez