Erdogan’s Approaching Downfall—and a Kurdish Revolution
Svante E. Cornell
On June 7, Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, experienced his first electoral defeat—and a stinging one at that, his Justice and Development party (AKP) losing ten points and its majority in the parliament. This marks the end of Erdogan’s aspirations to rule Turkey single-handedly under a new, presidential constitution. With this election, the country has avoided slipping into an Islamist-Putinesque strongman rule but still faces many serious challenges. The first is handling Erdogan’s inexorable demise. Erdogan has little hope of reversing his slide, but he will not step aside easily. Turkey will also have to manage what was essentially a Kurdish revolution. The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) more than doubled its support and will have a substantial presence in parliament. Will Turkey meet the Kurdish movement halfway and accommodate its demands, or will it take a nationalist turn and push back against the Kurds, with potentially dire consequences?