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As Turkey’s economy suffers, Erdogan’s opponents step up efforts aimed at unseating him

Recent days have provided a snapshot of the country’s turmoil. On Thursday, for the fourth month in a row, the central bank cut interest rates — sending the lira to a record low against the dollar. By Friday, the lira had sagged again, falling to 16.30 against the dollar despite a central bank intervention to prop up the currency.

The city’s popular mayor was surrounded by enthusiastic crowds, talking about his hopes that the failing economy would improve and his conviction that brighter days for Turkey were just around the bend. But while the scene was familiar, this was not Istanbul, and these were not his constituents, the Washington Post reports.

The mayor, Ekrem Imamoglu, a leading member of Turkey’s political opposition, was recently on the other side of the country, delivering what sounded like a campaign speech in a stronghold of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling alliance. It was one of many places across a suffering Turkey where the opposition senses that Erdogan’s supporters can be swayed.

Turkey’s presidential election is not scheduled until 2023. But an economic meltdown that is growing worse by the day — marked by rocketing inflation that has left many unable to afford basic goods, and a nation watching aghast as the currency collapses — has forced a reckoning on Erdogan’s authoritarian rule.

Economists say the crisis is entirely the result of Erdogan’s constant meddling with the central bank and his unwavering campaign to lower interest rates because of his unorthodox view that higher rates cause inflation.

Recent days have provided a snapshot of the country’s turmoil. On Thursday, for the fourth month in a row, the central bank cut interest rates — sending the lira to a record low against the dollar. By Friday, the lira had sagged again, falling to 16.30 against the dollar despite a central bank intervention to prop up the currency.

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