Istanbul/Ankara — When Turkey’s president called early elections, most analysts figured they knew why: there was financial trouble ahead and he couldn’t risk waiting. The gambit worked. Recep Tayyip Erdogan was returned to office with sweeping new powers, after running the economy hot for more than a year. Now, preventing a meltdown is probably his most immediate and difficult task. "The election result doesn’t solve the most important question the Turkish economy faces: how to avoid a hard landing," said Inan Demir, an economist at Nomura International in London. On the campaign trail, the president could boast about growth rates that surpassed China’s last year — but only because he’d engineered them. Cheap money and government incentives helped plough billions of dollars into the economy following the coup attempt in 2016.

Yet even before the weekend vote, cracks were forming in his growth-at-all-costs strategy: months of rebounding inflation and a widening current-account ...

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