Which way will Erdoğan lead Turkey?
Following the election in Turkey Europe is discussing what course President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will take now that his party has regained its absolute majority. Some commentators fear he will exploit his key position vis-à-vis the EU on refugee policy. Others hope he will adopt more moderate policies and give the country's economy a boost.
Dangerous power boost for Erdoğan
The AKP's victory in the election gives President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's struggle for absolute power another boost, the liberal daily Dagens Nyheter contends: "Press freedom and freedom of opinion have already been curbed and there is the risk that the pressure on the media will further increase. The AKP won't give up control over the courts and the police. The investigation into the big government corruption scandal can probably be declared dead now. There is no counterweight to Erdoğan's power. As far as the Kurdish issue is concerned, the president's election strategy has worked but the price is high. Not only the PKK but also large sections of the Kurdish population will find it hard to trust the government, even though it is sending out peace signals after the election. The promised stability will remain a utopia and the danger of chaos is all the more present."
Turkish president has EU over a barrel
Under pressure from the refugee crisis the EU will make further concessions to President Erdoğan, the Catholic daily Avvenire predicts: "Brussels knows that Erdoğan will soon bring his set of conditions into play: billions in aid, visa-free travel, accelerating the EU membership talks which have stalled on many chapters for some months now. And he will make his response to the more than two million Syrian and Afghan refugees currently parked in Turkey dependent on the EU's conduct. … Europe's leaders, and above all Angela Merkel, know this only too well. Whether he keeps them in the country, allows them to leave or drives them in masses towards Greece's borders and the islands in the Aegean: in its desperate desire for stability Europe will turn a blind eye or even two blind eyes to the president's despotism."
Change of course not out of the question
Now that Erdoğan's hunger for power has been satisfied his policies may become more moderate, the centre-left daily Tages-Anzeiger hopes: "Even without the constitutional amendments he was after Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has cemented his hold on power. He can be an out-and-out pragmatist when it suits his own interests. Peace with the Kurds would be a historic legacy. The refugee crisis has given the president an opportunity to put his country on a par with the European Union. With more than two million refugees, Turkey has been dealt a key role. Even if it doesn't look that way at first glance, Erdoğan's election victory has also given him a chance to evolve once more. And whatever else may be the case, one thing he doesn't have to do right now is cling to power."
Sultan should focus on the economy
Many Turks voted for President Erdoğan's Islamic conservative AK Party on Sunday because they trust the former prime minister's economic competence, the liberal business paper L'Echo observes: "Many Turks believe that ever since the 'Sultan' exchanged his prime minister's suit for that of the president, the Anatolian Tiger has started to run out of breath. By giving him their support on Sunday, voters were asking him to do what he can to make the Tiger roar once more. Let's hope he will appease the situation surrounding the Kurdish question. The peaceful settlement of this issue could also reassure tourists, bolstering one of the country's key economic sectors. And let's hope as well that like [the chairman of the Flemish nationalist party N-VA] Bart De Wever, Erdoğan can put aside his institutional and autocratic desires and focus on the economy, the area in which his performance has been most convincing so far."