Cost-of-living crisis in Turkey undermines Erdogan re-election bid
05/09/2023 // Ramon Tomey // Views

The ongoing cost-of-living crisis in Turkey could compromise the re-election bid of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

According to the Jerusalem Post (JPost), millions of Turks have had to deal with runaway inflation for years. Annual inflation has remained in the double-digit counts for almost all of the five years since the 2018 general elections. It began to surge after a currency crisis in late 2021, following a series of interest rate cuts ordered by the unorthodox Erdogan.

Headline inflation dropped to 43.7 percent in April 2023 after peaking at 85.5 percent in October 2022. Food prices, meanwhile, surged 54 percent year-on-year in April.

The lira, Turkey's national currency, has lost 44 percent of its value in 2021 and 30 percent in 2020. Under Erdogan's second term as president, the lira has lost 76 percent. The Russia-Ukraine war and disputes between Ankara and Washington contributed to the lira's crash.

Given the ongoing crisis, Erdogan could face the biggest challenge on the ballot to his 20-year hold on power. Some polls have shown the incumbent slightly behind his main opponent Kemal Kilicdaroglu ahead of the country's May 14 elections. The race at the parliamentary level remains on a razor edge, with Kilicdaroglu's Republican People's Party (CHP) seen to potentially clinch a narrow majority against Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP).

For the first 10 years of Erdogan's rule, he and his Islamist-rooted AKP were able to maintain their voter base thanks to strong economic growth. He came to power thanks to lower-income, conservative Muslim Turks. However, the same people that put Erdogan into power are bearing the brunt of his unorthodox economic policies.


"The reason why [the AKP] kept winning was that it delivered to voters certain material benefits," said author and political analyst Birol Baskan. "This is the first time that magic seems not to be working because of the economy, because of the high inflation [and] increasing cost of living. It badly hurt people's pockets, and that's why I guess winning this election is no longer so assured [for Erdogan and the AKP]."

Former Erdogan supporter turns his back on him

JPost also shared the story of 63-year-old barber Hakim Ekinci, who had been a long-time supporter of the incumbent. The Istanbul resident blamed Erdogan's economic policies for eroding the purchasing power of regular Turks and leaving many unable to afford even basic food.

"We used to be able to buy three to four bags of groceries for 150 lira ($7.68) to 200 lira ($10.24). My wife and I could hardly carry them," the barber remarked. "Now, we can barely fill two bags." (Related: Grocery prices skyrocket 31 percent in one year as lockdowns, drought and money printing unleash food inflation.)

Ekinci also lamented the "uncontrollable" exchange rate, and expressed his wishes to go back to his life "five or six years ago" which was marked by a higher purchasing power. He told JPost: "I want the dollar exchange rate to decline [after the elections]. I want the price of petrol to fall. I want inflation to fall."

The barber said he began to doubt his support for Erdogan and his party due to economic reasons shortly after the 2018 elections. The 2021 currency crisis only bolstered Ekinci's decision not to vote for them.

"I'd say those responsible are the ones governing us. I think it is the wrong decisions they have taken. I used to be an AKP supporter but I'm not thinking of voting for them."

Marble mason Talat Gul said he currently sees "nothing but hunger." While he has never voted for Erdogan, the AKP or their allies – he doubts that Kilicdaroglu and the CHP would be able to quickly change things for the better in the event that they win.

"[Erdogan and the AKP] have created in the last 21 years a Turkey that cannot be changed," Gul remarked. "It will take 20 years to recover, whoever comes to power. But I just want [Erdogan] to go."

Visit for more stories about Turkey's ongoing economic crisis.

Watch this video about Erdogan's response amid the lira's collapse back in 2018.

This video is from the End Times Prophecy News channel on

More related stories:

Turkey and Argentina turn to crypto amid record-breaking inflation and crumbling currencies.

Turkey's inflation hits 24-year high, but Erdogan insists there's no need to raise interest rates.

Turkish annual inflation jumps to 83.45% due to excessive government spending on welfare and the military.

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