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Where will Pres. Erdogan take Turkey?

Monday, August 11, 2014 - 02:20

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan secured his place in history by winning the nation's first direct presidential election. Investors initially welcomed the result, but Erdogan's opponents fear his victory will lead to more authoritarian rule. Joel Flynn reports

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The result surprised few, but Tayyip Erdogan's supporters still came out in force to celebrate his victory in Turkey's first direct presidential election. SOUNDBITE: Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, saying (Turkish): "We will continue our struggle to improve our democracy and cement its standards. We will do everything to improve the country's political process." Erdogan is now a step closer to the executive presidency he has long coveted for Turkey. But his opponents fear it could herald increasingly authoritarian rule. Selahattin Demirtas was one of the other presidential candidates. SOUNDBITE: Kurdish Presidential Candidate, Selahattin Demirtas, saying (Turkish): "President, prime minister or minister - if he acts against our principles we won't hesitate to oppose him. He will not be immune merely because he is president." Erdogan's resounding victory was initially welcomed by markets. But a short bounce in equities and the Turkish lira has given way to growing concerns about the risks. Ratings agency Fitch said Erdogan's pressure on the central bank could undermine its "tenuous credibility". In addition - inflation remains stubbornly high, and Turkey is still running a large current account deficit. But there is some cause for optimism. Robert Parker is Head of Stategic Advisory Group at Credit Suisse. SOUNDBITE: Credit Suisse Head of Stategic Advisory Group, Robert Parker, saying (English): "If the central bank is allowed to do its job then actually I think these points of vulnerability can be managed. Now the situation is fragile, but is it going to, are we going to have another Turkish crisis, another economic crisis, and my answer to that is no we're not." The ruling AK Party - founded by Erdogan - has begun talks about its next leader. As president Erdogan can no longer be a party member. Foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu leads candidates to replace him; former transport minister Binali Yildirim also trying to position himself. Jeremy Stretch is head of FX strategy at CIBC. SOUNDBITE: CIBC Head of FX Strategy, Jeremy Stretch, saying (English): "The political angle is improving, or at least some of that uncertainty has been cleared away by the election victory a bit of course, and now begs the question of who leads the AKP and who's going to be in charge of policy." Critics fear a weak prime minister will leave Erdogan too powerful. Known for his roots in political Islam and not tolerating dissent - Western governments and markets will be wary if Erdogan's presidency brings a move to more authoritarian rule.

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Where will Pres. Erdogan take Turkey?

Monday, August 11, 2014 - 02:20