Stability in Turkey means stability in the region
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan talks a great deal about the nation’s survival ahead of this month’s municipal elections. The question in his mind goes beyond wealth and poverty, despite what the opposition seems to think. Instead, Erdogan wants to create a new setting that will end a series of attacks that Turkey has had to endure since 2013. His goal is to “preserve Turkey’s stability” and “ensure that it stays on track.” The idea of staying on track refers to both the question of survival and the preservation of Turkey’s leadership role in the region – which directly addresses the country’s extraordinary contributions to regional and global stability. In a recent meeting with opinion leaders from eastern and southeastern Turkey, Erdogan summarized his view as follows: “If we stumble, the people that pull tricks every day to fuel clashes among people in our neighborhood will rejoice. If we stumble, the Islamophobes, who have been on the rise across the West, including Europe and the United States, will get out of control.” Clearly, the president did not utter those words just to help with the People’s Alliance campaign for municipal elections. As a matter of fact, it was noteworthy that he was addressing opinion leaders from a certain part of the country that day. He also stressed that the country was crucial for the safety and well-being of all people in the region. In other words, his emphasis was on Turkey’s stabilizing impact in the region rather than the fear of disintegration. Any opinion poll in the region would reveal that most people believe the weakening of Erdogan would be against the interests of Turkey and the Middle East.