The anger sweeping along highways linking the humble hometown of Turkey’s leader and his plush lodgings in Ankara’s presidential palace is flashing a code red warning for Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Tea growers, fishermen, small retailers, café staff and gas-station attendants — some of the typically low-paid, laboring Turks who have formed the backbone of Erdogan’s support over his two decades atop Turkish politics — are giving up on the ruling party as the cost of living surges.
An 800-kilometer journey this month along Turkey’s Black Sea coast and into its conservative hinterland showed how many are losing faith. Opposition parties control the major cities, meaning Erdogan and his AK Party must hold traditional bastions to stay in power at 2023 elections.
They have 18 months to win over disillusioned and wavering voters like Sahap Kardesler.
Emerging from a butcher shop in Iyidere, the 66-year-old pensioner had used credit to buy enough…