As Turkey's economy heads into a tailspin because of the collapse of its currency, the lira, investors and economists wonder why President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has continued the eccentric economic policy that caused this crisis. He has made clear that his motivation is primarily religious.
Mr. Erdoğan has dominated Turkish politics for nearly 20 years in a variety of roles—head of the Justice and Development Party, prime minister and president. Two notable features marked the first half of his rule: constant worry that the fervently secular military leadership would stage a coup, and extraordinary economic growth.
Everything changed in July 2011, when Mr. Erdoğan forced the military chief of staff to quit, along with the heads of the army, navy and air force, giving him control over the armed forces. With no further fear of a coup, he finally was able to pursue fully the Islamist ideology the secular officers had tempered.
Daniel Pipes is president of the Middle East Forum.