“A comprehensive and clear-eyed political analysis of Turkey under Erdogan, a leader whose complicated dance with internal and external actors has taken Turkey away from democracy, but, on a note of hope, has perhaps not taken democracy away from Turkey.”
Jenny White, author of Turkish Kaleidoscope (2021)
“A sultan in autumn is a sultan at his most dangerous. Soner Cagaptay gives a full account of Erdogan at this critical period. A crystal-clear report on the rise and fall of a quasi-dictator in the age of ascendant authoritarianism.”
Ece Temelkuran, political commentator and author of How to Lose a Country (2019)
During his first decade in power, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan maintained his popularity by delivering unprecedented economic growth and dramatically increasing access to healthcare, education, and other essential services. But in recent years, he and his party have faced setbacks, including humiliating mayoral election losses in Istanbul, Ankara, and other major cities in 2019. At home, the once robust Turkish economy has sputtered, while abroad Erdogan must balance a perilous alliance with Russia’s Vladimir Putin against the need to maintain amicable relations with Washington. A potential refugee crisis from Syria looms as another threat. And on the political front, Erdogan can no longer count on majority support from Turkish voters, a trend driven by disillusionment among millennials, his own clumsy anti-elitist messaging, and establishment fatigue, among other factors.
In this taut and compelling volume—copublished by The Washington Institute and I.B. Tauris—Soner Cagaptay lays out the mounting challenges to Erdogan’s rule. While suggesting the adaptive president may still survive politically—with undoubted costs for Turkey’s citizens, institutions, and allies—he also offers a more hopeful subtext, intimating that the country’s resilient democracy can outlast any one leader.