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Turkey After the New Year

Turkey has been the darling of foreign oil and gas investors who are looking to new frontiers that are less risky, from a security and political stability point of view. This is Turkey—for now. Despite the fact that they still haven’t made that one big find, Turkey is an extremely significant strategic investment, depending on how you play it. But the uncertainty has been piling up ever since the Gezi Park protests that shook the foundations—however mildly—of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan’s power base.

Next year—indeed, four months from now--will be a definitive one for Erdogan—he could either solidify his power, or lose it entirely. For the first time, in 2014, Turkey will hold direct presidential elections, which will be followed by general elections in 2015. The significance of this is that Erdogan has said that he will not seek another term as prime minister. Instead, he will be running for president, pitting himself against a co-founder of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), current President Abdullah Gul, whose popularity has experienced a fair boost since Erdogan’s mishandling of the Gezi Park protests.

The problem for Erdogan—despite his massive power base—is that he has shown complete disregard for some key figures in the AKP, and they have taken notice. Now there are clear cracks in the lining of the ruling party, and this may or may not end up favoring Erdogan by the time elections…

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