January 24, 2018 - Turkey began 2018 embroiled in domestic dissent and diplomatic friction. Last April's constitutional referendum was met with widespread criticism as an attempt by President Erdogan to consolidate power. Activists and journalists face increasing restrictions on their rights, the government continues its crackdown on the opposition, and debates swirl over the future of Turkey's economy, the Kurdish question, and relations with the United States and European Union. This weekend's three-day offensive into Northern Syria has created a new battleground in the Syrian War, inviting conflict with the United States. These various issues are coming to a head in advance of 2019's presidential election.
What is the opposition's strategy to challenge Erdogan and how is he anticipated to respond? If Turkey's economy worsens, will he call for early elections to improve his chances of victory? And what will be the implications of Erdogan's 2019 strategy for the country's foreign policy?
The Middle East Institute (MEI) convened a panel of experts to examine these key issues and more, featuring Soner Captagay (WINEP), Howard Eissenstat (St. Lawrence University), and Max Hoffman (CAP). MEI’s director for Turkish Studies, Gönül Tol, moderated the discussion.