For a long period of time, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan looked mighty, especially from within Turkey. He was charismatic, a great orator, a shrewd tactician, imposing and even bullish. He mesmerized many of his countrymen. His numerous sycophants called him “Reis” in Turkish, without pronouncing any official title or his name. The connotation of Reis in Turkish is "leader," and nobody needed to inquire who the Reis might be. Nobody could be other than Erdogan. His cronies went that far to glorify him as the “global leader.” His charm and strength could not be confined to Turkey; it had to go much beyond that, to the global level.
Those were the days. Erdogan will be meeting with the president of the United States, Joseph Biden, in the weakest moment of his almost two-decade-old reign in Turkey. He is not coping well with the mounting problems he faces in the economy, further aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Inflation is soaring by double digits, and unemployment is increasing. At the same time, the small businesses that provided solid support to him for years have become the sources of discontent, accelerating erosion of his approval ratings.