The Erdogan administration’s unsuccessful policies, along with its stance on Syria, split public opinion among the Turkish population, Okuyan says. Nearly half of the country’s citizens still support the president, while the other half oppose him.
“The Turks are fighting Erdogan, although they have supported him for a while,” he says, explaining that the more progressive part of society opposes Erdogan’s policies that combine nationalism and regionalism into what Okuyan describes as ‘Ottomanism.’
Erdogan’s new ‘Ottomanism’ philosophy fits in well with the intervention in Syria, Okuyan adds. While the president hoped to create an expanded region populated by Sunni Muslims to counterbalance a growing Iran, Ankara’s “policies in Syria have lost completely.”
“Erdogan was using Russia to balance some criticism coming from the United States. He tried to use the Russian card.”
Finding himself being criticized on all fronts, Erdogan extended a hand toward Russia in an attempt to save his political career. This does not mean, however, that all his problems with Russia are solved.
“This is the move Erdogan [made] to save himself. Of course it has some political and economic context, but the main issue is to save Erdogan.”