President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be Vladimir Putin’s favorite in this election.

A hard truth to swallow for his NATO allies who were hoping, albeit secretly, for change.

Erdoğan’s increasingly authoritarian rule, economic eccentricity, and skew within NATO have heightened anxiety among the allies.

His defeat would have been hailed as a sign of things to come, the humility of a populist staunch man, and others might have followed suit.

Those hopes have diminished.

With his position apparently strengthened Before the second round in this electionThere will almost certainly be disappointment in the West.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Erdogan’s rival, is not well known outside of Turkey, but to Western policymakers he has provided a booster for the frustrations and frustrations that Erdogan has generated.

More on Recep Tayyip Erdogan

He is an accountant and bureaucrat with a reputation as a clean, secular politician who wants to restore Turkish-Western relations and trust with NATO allies. What do you not like about the chancellorships of Europe and Washington?

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Learn about Erdogan’s opponent in the elections

Compare that with Mr. Erdogan.

The man who started defending his country’s membership in the European Union is taking Turkey in a different and unexpected direction.

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There is his mismanagement of the economy.

In his advancing years, and contrary to all economic orthodoxy, Erdogan does not believe that raising interest rates lowers inflation. If we add to this the chronic corruption and mismanagement, the Turkish economy is on the way to collapse with the inflation rate soaring to more than 80%.

Economic failure can be a precursor to political instability. Both are junk in a NATO country and one as important as Turkey on Europe’s doorstep. Apart from the misery that threatens to bring the Turkish people.

Mr. Erdogan is the choice of the Kremlin, the devil Putin knew and found useful even if their relations were entirely transactional.

He has spoken of his special relationship with Putin and the two countries’ mutual need for each other. He refuses to join Western sanctions against Russia. He has purchased Russian anti-aircraft defense systems, causing involvement across the NATO alliance.

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Why is Türkiye important?

Türkiye’s contradiction has had the West’s uses in this conflict. Ankara played an important role in brokering the deal, which allowed for the shipment of Ukrainian grain. And it may play a role in negotiations to end the war when it finally happens.

Turkey provides Kiev with drones, but it also continues to block Sweden’s accession to NATO and has not played anywhere near as supportive a role as the alliance might hope.

For Western governments, Turkey has exploited the conflict for economic gain, buying Russian energy at knock-down rates and taking advantage of trade-busting sanctions.

Then there is the democratic backsliding, Turkey’s increasingly troubling human rights record and rising authoritarianism, all of which are causing more anxiety in Western capitals.

Kilicdaroglu promised to change all that. Reset relationships. He may have ended up falling short, but for the Allies, the direction of travel would have been refreshing.

Mr. Erdogan offers the opposite. A stubborn and unpredictable ally with an increasingly risky economy. His Western counterparts were happy to call time on Erdogan. Instead they may have to endure more years of his rule.

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