Daren Acemoglu: Reasons Why Erdogan May Defeat the Opposition Are the Same As Might Prolong Turkey’s Economic Woes

Professor John Richards, a fine political scientist, SFU emeritus, and co-editor of the applauded journal Inroads, introduces Professor Daron Acemoglu’s profound essay as to why the Opposition is not doing as well as it might against a tired 20-year-old Erdogan government.

On Sun, May 21, 2023 at 10:47 AM jrichard <jrichard@sfu.ca<mailto:jrichard@sfu.ca>> wrote:
This is probably the best short analysis as to why Erdogan will, almost certainly, be re-elected in the runoff election at the end of May. Acemoglu is an economist at MIT. His best known book is “Why Nations Fail”, written with James Robinson, a political scientist. He is Turkish by origin.

Leaving aside the petro-monarchies of the Middle East, Turkey and Malaysia are the two most prosperous Muslim countries potentially able to become liberal democracies with productive market economies. However, in both countries, ethnic conflicts are a major impediment. In the case of Turkey, there has been no successful compromise between Kurds and Turks, and the horror of Syrian civil war remains important.

A quick word about Project Syndicate the blog where Acemoglu’s piece appears. The never-still George Soros started PS and it has recruited top-notch writers.

The difference between the Soros approach and that of Opposition International deserves a brief explanation. Mr. Soros and his organizations has a defined agenda and works with governments and oppositions who are supportive of its basic tenets.

OI starts from the other direction with support for opposition parties, of almost any stripe. OI’s meta-agenda is that competition, itself, best preserves democracy rather than any single agenda of the “left” or “right.” Constant struggle preserves liberties by never allowing those in power to get too comfortable.

OI, as an organization, ends up being open to parties which as individuals we might not support. Our volunteers are not asked to agree with one another on policy but rather only on the instrumentality of competition.

So, the answer is “yes,” depending upon the balance of power between parties, OI could support a party also receiving assistance from the Soros Foundation. In a different Government-Opposition configuration, we might also oppose a Soros-supported party.