On April 18, 2018, the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced that presidential and parliamentary elections would take place earlier than planned on June 24, 2018.
The military strikes conducted by US, French and British forces against targets in Syria on April 14, 2018 – launched in response to the Syrian government’s apparent use of chemical weapons in Douma, east of Damascus on April 7 – has exposed cracks in the Turkish–Russian–Iranian alliance and raised hopes of renewed coordination between Ankara and Washington.
In recent decades, a new form of competition has emerged in the Red Sea region, as emerging regional powers have sought to expand their geopolitical and economic influence over a larger area of land and sea. Among them, Turkey is motivated not by some sort of major geostrategic vision, but rather by its economic and commercial interests, combined with a sense of national prestige. Competition for supremacy and prestige throughout the wider Middle East is an essential part of Erdoğan’s ambitious vision of a powerful Turkey. The Red Sea and the Horn of Africa have an important role to play in this regard, as does the wider issue of Turkey’s influence in Africa, which has significant untapped economic potential for the country.
The Turkish economy has been shrinking as a result of the economic and financial turmoil that has gripped the country since March 2018. In the third quarter of 2019, it experienced weak growth. However, despite the market movement and the positive growth seen since, the crisis continues to have an impact, and no real solution has yet been found. In contrast to the weak growth and relative stability of the Turkish lira, the high rates of unemployment and of inflation continue to have a negative effect on the economy.
Turkey is today undergoing significant political turbulence. President Erdogan’s popularity is in decline and the incumbent Justice and Development Party (AKP) appears increasingly vulnerable to
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