Erdoğan’s Power and the Turkish Construction Industry
Turkey’s politically connected construction industry drove economic growth under President Erdoğan. His attempts to protect it have now also created a severe economic crisis.
Turkey has emerged as a growing regional power. Two decades of high economic growth rates averaging about 5% annually have brought Turkey’s GDP in terms of purchasing power parity to $3.3 trillion as of 2022, higher than Italy and South Korea and just below France.1 Per capita, Turkey is now wealthier than Russia and several EU member states including Greece and Croatia. With a growing population of 84 million people, Turkey surpassed Germany in 2019 to become the most populous NATO member after the United States. Political and economic stability allowed Turkey to make key investments in defense and manufacturing and carry out an aggressive foreign policy under the leadership of long-time President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. But since around 2018, both Erdoğan’s political career and Turkey’s long-term prosperity have become threatened by a severe and ongoing economic crisis. In 2022, yearly inflation was measured at anywhere between 83% by Turkey’s statistical office to 176% by independent analysts.2 Erdoğan is facing a general election in June 2023 as his polling numbers and popularity have steadily decreased since 2019.