Erdogan's battles: Turkey's leader digs in against domestic rivals

THE DEBATE
THE DEBATE © FRANCE 24

Can Turkey's president roll with the punches? Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government is reacting sharply to Washington's recognition of the Armenian genocide but is keeping the channels open with US President Joe Biden. Meanwhile, Erdogan is also dealing with a growing Covid-19 crisis, a slipping currency and the trial of Kurdish opposition politicians.

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The topic on tonight’s show: How do strongmen fare in a pandemic? Erdogan is projecting plenty of muscle these days both at home and abroad. His latest moves include taking on the United States over the Biden administration's recognition of the Armenian genocide, siding with Ukraine against Russia over the Black Sea, and playing it cool after EU infighting erupted over EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen's relegation to the couch on a recent trip to Istanbul.

Domestically, Erdogan has again scored points with hardline nationalists with the trial of leaders of the Kurdish-rooted HDP and shrugging off outrage over Turkey quitting the Istanbul Convention on women's rights. But is energising his conservative base enough?

And "Where are the 128 billion?" – this is the opposition's new rallying cry, and a nod to the money spent on currency markets to prop up the tumbling lira. We also talk about the latest sacking of a Central Bank governor that has spooked markets, as well as growing Covid-19 numbers which could jeopardise the upcoming tourist season. What to do when the enemy within is an invisible virus that mutates?

Produced by Andrew Hilliar, Maya-Anaïs Yataghène and Imen Mellaz.

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