Tag Archives: turkey

The geopolitical influence of Russia on Turkish political tactics and strategies


The extraordinarily troublesome year 2020 tested many international institutions and bilateral ties, but few experienced sharper challenges than the complex and troubled relations between Russia and Turkey,which have a strong impact on crisis developments in Europe’s immediate neighborhood.

In the last two decades, Turkish foreign policy has undergone a remarkable transformation and Eurasianism, with its anti-Western and pro-Russian rhetoric, has become more visible in the foreign policy practices/activities of the JDP (Justice and Development Party) government.

The question regarding the nature of the relations between Turkey and Russia it seems so much contradictory today. On the side of a NATO member perspective, one could say that Turkey’s positioning is ”highly isolated and more broadly leads members to reflect on the positioning of its vis-à-vis the United States”, whose unilateralism is now giving rise to new alliances.

While closer relations bring several benefits with little cost to Russia, it is difficult to say the same for Turkey, particularly when it comes to the cost of these relations. One could make a long list of benefits that Russia gains from engagement or cooperation. Meanwhile Turkey has accrued some benefits—for example, by disrupting the plans of Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD in northwestern Syria—but this has come at a high price). Turkey’s acquisition of the S-400 missile systems from Russia has led to its removal from the United States’ F-35 program and sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. In broader terms, its closer relations with Russia have generated heated discussions in the West regarding Turkey’s place in .

The tumultuous year 2020 tested and significantly degraded the always ambiguous Russian-Turkish partnership, which has become transactional at best and certainly not “strategic”. The foundation of economic ties, and first of all the export of Russian natural gas to Turkey, has seriously weakened. Even if both states experience an economic recovery in the coming months, which is by no means certain, the trade and investment flows would hardly recover. In the temporarily and disagreeably suspended Syrian and Libyan wars, Russia and Turkey are not only backing opposite factions but also manipulating the risks of a direct military confrontation. Turkish forceful interference in the Nagorno Karabakh war was decisive in securing the victory for Azerbaijan and devalued Russian security guarantees for Armenia.

This breakthrough was far more disturbing for Moscow than the official discourse reveals, and the deployment of a Russian peacekeeping force cannot restore the capacity to dominate security developments in the Caucasus. Personal ties between the two ambitious leaders suffice for finding a mode of deconflicting in these war zones, but their mutual irritation and mistrust are accumulating. Thirty years ago, Russia’s supremacy in the Caspian Sea was unquestioned. Even with the independence of new countries with their own navies in the early 1990s, Russia and its Caspian Flotilla had little to fear.

On June 26 of this year, the Turkish government began constructing the first bridge over Canal Istanbul, the huge waterway project designed to run parallel to the Bosporus Strait. Ankara has presented the megaproject as a strategic move that will turn Turkey into a logistics base and grant it geo-political leverage over both regional and international trade and transportation routes. However, Turkey’s political opposition considers Canal Istanbul to be a rent-seeking project designed to attract international – prob­ably Chinese and Arab – investment in the hope of reviving Turkey’s deteriorating economy. The Canal may also affect the Montreux Convention, the decades old treaty that governs the Turkish Straits. Given the rivalry between the US and Russia, ques­tions around the Montreux Convention will add another point of contention, increase tensions and may also present serious consequences for Turkey.

Russia, however, would be deeply concerned about any attempt to alter the status quo as the Convention constrains unwelcome Western presence in the Black Sea while also providing Russia an opportu­nity to develop an anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) capability. Arguably, the impor­tance of the Turkish Straits for Russia has increased with the start of the Syrian Civil War in 2011.

The maturing of autocratic regimes in Russia and Turkey does not facilitate their rapprochement in the security domain, as each ambitious ruler is more interested in exploiting the opportunities emerging from the conflict the other one is facing in relations with the West than in extending a helping hand to the fellow dictator-in distress. Also some observers suggest Ankara could see its drone sales to Ukraine as powerful leverage over Moscow in a number of regional disputes that are going on between the two.

A major problem for Turkey in its relations with Russia remains the asymmetry, even if interdependent, in favour of Moscow. Yet, the nature of asymmetry is dynamic and subject to change, as Turkey has engaged in what can be termed dependency reduction on Russia, both geopolitically and structurally (energy-wise).

  • Eurasianism and Blue Homeland

With the demise of the Soviet Union, Turkey saw the emergence of a potential area of influence for itself in Central Asia. Supported by the West, its Eurasianism in this period meant Turkey could play a leading role in the affairs of the newly independent Central Asian and Caucasus states. Hence it was also premised on a competitive agenda with Russia. However, despite its early eagerness to take advantage of this epochal development, Turkey failed to cultivate a leading role in Central Asia.

Unlike the more geopolitically informed early forms of its Eurasianism in the post-Cold War era, Turkey’s recent turn to Eurasia, driven partially by its deepening discontent with the West, seeks to build closer relations with Russia and China. This latest form, present earlier among some military officers and marginal political groups in the early 2000s, carries a strong suspicion of the West as the constitutive ingredient of its political identity. Thus, the current Eurasianism is essentially an ideological disposition rather than a coherent geopolitical vision. Its most recent manifestation can be seen through the imprecise, nebulous, and unofficial Blue Homeland geopolitical concept.

The Blue Homeland concept effectively means three things. First, it represents an expanded vision and understanding of Turkey’s maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean. Second, it is the navy’s call to reimagine and reposition the country as a maritime power. Third, the ideological concept—as exemplified by the narrative of its creators who believe that Turkish geopolitical interests are better served through realignment with Russia and China—signifies a reimagining of the country’s place in the world.

Syria is central to the current shape of Turkey-Russia relations. It offers a model of partnership for both countries in a context where their interests are competitive. However, the Syrian-centric cooperation between Turkey and Russia is also special and is thus unlikely to be replicated elsewhere due to structural constraints and contextual nuances.

Developments at the broader international level, a new administration in the US, and rising tension between Ukraine and Russia indicate that Turkey would face more constraints and higher costs for its geopolitical balancing act between the West and Russia.

In spite of the dynamism and developments in Tur­kish-Russian relations since 2015, analysts say that they cannot extra­polate that the same level of cooperation will con­tinue, provided that Turkish-Western relations do not experience a rupture.

  • The new instable geopolitical puzzle

To explain these increasingly close relations in recent years, the analysis mainly features Turkey’s motives. What is perplexing is not that Russia would want to form closer relations with Turkey regionally or bilaterally; the benefits of such engagements for Russia is clear. On top of economic and energy inter­ests (including Russia building Turkey’s first nuclear power plant) and given Turkey’s membership in NATO, undermining NATO’s cohesion and creating more friction between Ankara and its NATO partners serve Russia’s interests. For instance, as a NATO mem­ber, Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 systems confers more prestige on these systems and generates more tension between Turkey and the US – both of these developments serve Russia well.

Similarly, coopera­tion with Turkey gave more legitimacy to Russian-designed processes in the conflict zones, most impor­tantly in Syria. The list of benefits that Russia has accrued from its engagements or cooperation with Turkey goes on. Plus, unlike Turkey, Russia does not have to pay a cost for forming increasingly close rela­tions with Turkey. In contrast, from being removed from the F-35 fighter jet programme to the CAATSA sanctions to the deepening crisis in its relations with the West, Turkey has to pay a heavy price for its close relations with Russia and purchasing the Russian-made S-400 missile systems.

The concept of an “axis of excluded” has been utilised as one of the explanatory paradigms that has been adopted by certain analysts to account for the deepening of Turkish-Russian relations. The basic argument behind this approach is that, despite struc­tural differences and contrasting worldviews  be­tween Turkey and Russia, both actors are opting for closer relations as a result of their shared frustrations with Western and US policies being directed towards them.

The state and health of Turkish-US relations has a direct impact on the nature of Turkish-Russian relations. At least, this is the case from Turkey’s per­spective. Relatedly, the opacity of US policy – or the perceived loss of its strategic clarity – the nature of its local partnerships in Syria (particularly its evolving relationships with the Syrian Democratic Forces, the backbone of which is formed by the YPG, which is affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, PKK), and regional alliances (the US being highly supportive of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Israel’s regional designs and visions in recent years) have further driven wedges between Turkey and the US. 

In this regard, Turkey’s governing elites often justify Turkey’s closer relations with Russia and China by referring to the fashionable, but largely nebulous, concept of searching for strategic autonomy in Turkish foreign policy. 

 It is also important to note that the natures of the political economies of Turkey and Russia are also constraining factors in bilateral relations. Russia pursues policies that will reflect the interests of a major energy-exporting country, whereas Turkey represents a major energy-importing country in its regional policy. Whereas Russia favours high energy prices, Turkey’s interests lie in low energy prices, particularly given Turkey’s huge current account deficit, which is partially caused by Turkey’s increasing energy needs. This incompatibility in the two countries’ political eco­nomies will have some implications on their regional policies and interactions.

Both of them, Turkey and Russia have had different standings on the regional status quo. At the regional level, after the Arab uprisings, Turkey operated as a revisionist power. It supported the overthrow of authoritarian regimes and the establishment of a new regional order, developing closer relations with the pro-change forces in the region. Despite the fact that in recent years, Turkey has adopted a much more cautious stance on the continuing waves of protests in the Middle East, this does not change the overall picture.

In contrast, Russia has operated as a status quo power in the region, displaying clear preferences for regional authoritarian strong men such as Sisi and Assad. It was suspicious towards the Arab uprisings and supported the incumbent regimes. Such a diver­gence of preferences as regards the regional status quo created a strategic incompatibility between the two powers’ regional visions.

However, to be honest, I don’t believe the fact that renowned think tanks keep pushing the scenario possibility that Ankara will leave NATO and pursue its own foreign/military policy. If there is one thing which will never happen in Turkey, that is the exit from this alliance. Never. For a simple reason: NATO is the ultimate shield protecting Turkey against nuclear powers in the proximity, especially against Russia.

References:

  1. https://www.ifri.org/sites/default/files/atoms/files/baev_turkey_russia_2021.pdf
  2. https://www.gmfus.org/news/turkeys-geopolitical-and-ideological-eurasianism-and-its-relations-russia
  3. https://www.swp-berlin.org/10.18449/2021RP05/

The right of protest in Turkey


One think is sure! After the “coup d’état” in 2015, the Don Quixote imaginary Neo-Sultan of the New Ottoman Empire, Mr Erdogan seized all powers in his hand and made the army of the country his puppet.

People cannot protest peacefully in the country anymore. Even the LGBT gay pride was not authorized and people got arrested.

Historically, In 1858 the Ottoman Empire—the predecessor of the modern-day Republic of Turkey— adopted a new penal code, which no longer contained any explicit articles criminalizing homosexuality. The Ottoman Penal Code of 1858 was heavily influenced by the Napoleonic Code, as part of wider reforms during the Tanzimat period. LGBT people have had the right to seek asylum in Turkey under the Geneva Convention since 1951, but same-sex couples are not given the same legal protections available to heterosexual couples. Transgender people have been allowed to change their legal gender since 1988. Although discrimination protections regarding sexual orientation and gender identity or expression have been debated legally, they have not yet been legislated.

In response to the recent crackdown on the Istanbul Pride Parade, Freedom House issues the following statement:

“The continuing assault on LGBT+ people in Turkey was on full display with the use of tear gas and rubber bullets to prevent the Istanbul Pride March,” said Marc Behrendt, director of Europe and Eurasia programs at Freedom House. “This latest crackdown is part of a larger effort to roll back LGBT+ and women’s rights in Turkey, which also includes the withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention and the prosecution of Boğaziçi University students for holding rainbow flags. The government must stop the continuing assault on LGBT+ communities and guarantee fundamental rights protections of all people in Turkey.”

On June 26th, police used tear gas and fired rubber bullets to disperse the annual pride parade in Istanbul. At least 20 people, including Agence France-Presse (AFP) photographer Bülent Kılıç, were detained by the authorities. Kılıç was violently arrested, with police breaking his camera and pressing on his neck. AFP denounced Kılıç’s treatment, while Kılıç himself has filed a complaint against the police. The Istanbul pride parade has been banned since 2014, though participants have consistently marched in defiance of that ban. Four days before this year’s march, police forcefully dispersed a pride-week picnic in the city, detaining at least one person.

The crackdown on the Turkish LGBT+ community has intensified since Boğaziçi University students began protesting the appointment of Melih Bulu, an ally of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as rector in January. Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu later called student protesters “LGBT deviants,” after protesters disseminated a photograph that included Islamic and LGBT+ imagery. Twelve people who were detained in March after carrying a rainbow flag at a protest, meanwhile, faced their second judicial hearing earlier today.

In May, the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europeranked Turkey the second-worst country in Europe for LGBT+ rights. On June 17th, Council of Europe (CoE) human rights commissioner Dunja Mijatović called on the Turkish government to respect the rights of LGBT+ people to assemble, criticizing the banning of pride marches and noting a “visible rise in hateful rhetoric and the propagation of homophobic narratives” by Turkish politicians and officials.

Turkey is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2021 and Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2020.

Analyzing The facts

However, at the same time, during the parade protest much worse things happened in the back streets of Istanbul, Taksim Istiklal Street (where the walk is intended). This district is called Cihangir.

Police forces attacked people sitting in cafes in Cihangir. People they were sitting there, some of them were unmasked as an excuse given by the police to attack them. We understand this from their speeches in the videos. Nonetheless, the police forces obviously intercepted any person whose appearance seemed “marginal” given the potential to participate in this parade, and then, they found the excuse to attack them. And when the customers of the cafes objected, they were arrested by the police force. Here is a twitter link:

The police forces , at that moment, lost its temper and even took their phone from someone’s hand, then most likely they deleted the footage. The police has the right from now on to do so as on April 30, 2021, the Turkish General Directorate of Security issued a circular stating that “it was decided to prevent people who recorded the images or voices of the police during the protests and to take legal action against them”.

“Controversial Circular from the Police: Recording images is now prohibited”
https://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/emniyetten-tartisma-yaratacak-genelge-goruntu-kaydetmek-artik-yasak-1832275

“In the circular in question, it was argued that sharing the audio and video recordings of the police officers and civilians on social media “violates the privacy of private life”, while it was argued that receiving audio and video also prevented them from doing their duty.”

Already since the 15 July 2016 FETO coup attempt, Turkey has been governed mostly by the decrees of Tayyip Erdoğan and the circulars of such public institutions.

Here another video: https://twitter.com/tugbaaozerr/status/1408820117123780608

In this video, the young man walking to the side of the police bus says that he is a lawyer and that what they are doing is illegal, almost begging. But the female cop almost glues him to the vehicle. At the end of the video, a young woman protests and says there is abuse here. The police says there is not any abuse.

But beyond all that, there is something much more interesting in this short video. At the beginning of the video, it is seen that male and female policemen are waiting in line. And all of the female cops on line are not wearing headscarves. However, three of the three female police officers heading towards the bus and detained the young woman are wearing headscarves.

After the 2016 FETO coup attempt in Turkey, the recruitment of headscarved women into the army and police forces was enacted by the AKP government.

This was not legal in Turkey before in the kemalist period . And with the democratization approval period of accessing to the European Union, it became law to admit women without headscarves to the public institutions of Turkey.

Wearing a headscarf or not has no meaning for the West. But it does for Turkey. Since its establishment, it has applied a principle of secularism in that way. In other words, headscarved women, or men with fez or turban, or any religious symbol of any religion could not wear any official clothing in public until the last 5 years. 

Why was this implemented? Turkey is a predominantly Sunni Muslim country. In the years it was founded, the literacy rate was around 12%. And it would not be wrong to say that the imams of mosques, which were in almost every neighborhood, were more involved in people’s lives and influenced the public. We know this from some imams who cooperated with the British during the War of Independence of Turkey, 1919-1923. And with the collapsing of the Ottoman sultanate, the loss of the caliphate and the fear of losing the power of some of the imams made them cooperate with those who invaded their country. And they did this not only on the basis of religion, but also on ethnic identity. The most important thing to do in this situation should have been to implement laws in order to prevent this. As stated in the second of the first three unalterable articles of the Turkish constitution, “The Republic of Turkey is a democratic, secular and social state of law.”

For this reason, all kinds of religious symbols were removed from the public domain. Because if even one of them were allowed, it would have been against the principle of secularism, and the already overwhelming influence of the Sunni Muslim majority in the country would increase. 


However, the Western world pointed this law against free expression and life, by presenting Atatürk as a dictator, anything that is contrary to the founding principles of Turkey, and in a sense, contrary to the Republic of Turkey founded by Atatürk. According to our information and as most West politicians having influence at that time stated, they supported Tayyip Erdogan from the very beginning, supposedly saying in their own minds, “Yes, Atatürk was a dictator, but he was not our dictator, we need a dictator in our own hands”. Even if the EU says they do not support him sometimes, we can say that they use this just as a rhetoric, as EU countries have never come into conflict with the government of Tayyip Erdogan because it will influence the trade negatively. 

It is obvious what kind of result a country like Turkey has had with the so-called democratization pressure on Turkey’s founding laws, by putting aside its internal dynamics, history and culture. Just like what happened in Cihangir last week. 

If we go back to the video, it is a complete FETO tactic, especially if these three women wearing headscarves were given the task of detaining the young woman and acting while having in mind that these images will become widespread. FETO, too, had done its best to stir up every internal dynamic in Turkey and to materialize this.

Tayyip Erdogan and his government are aware of the bad situation of the country economically and socially. And it is very clear that they are thinking of creating an environment where they can put more pressure and increase the discomfort in the country by showing some dynamics dividing the society to “secular and non-secular” .

Isn’t that strange that Tayyip Erdogan his relatives and supporters behave in the same way with the FETO line tactics are still being applied while they are stating that they are against FETO movement?

Here the 3rd video: https://twitter.com/t24comtr/status/1408849571414003716

“The citizen, who reacted to the sound bomb thrown by the police at the Pride Parade, saying “The child is sleeping”, was detained by the police.

And as the police chief instructions orders “Go upstairs and take him!” that citizen on the balcony has been taken into custody also. 


Of course, this police violence was not limited to those who participated in the LTGB pride parade, the ones sitting in the coffee shops in the back streets of Istiklal road, journalists should not be forgotten. The press freedom reports regarding Turkey already are not heart-warming :

“Report: Turkey ranks second after China in the number of journalists imprisoned this year”https://tr.euronews.com/2020/12/15/rapor-turkiye-cin-den-sonra-bu-y-l-en-fazla-hapsedilen-gazeteci-say-s-nda-ikinci-s-rada

The report states that as of December 1, 2020, 274 journalists were still held in prison in the world, while China (47), Turkey (37) and Egypt (27) were among the top three in this list.”

Bulent Kılıc, photojournalist for the French news agency AFP, who was detained with the harsh intervention of the police during the 19th Pride Parade in Taksim, Istanbul, was one of these journalists.

https://twitter.com/A3Haber/status/1408789501800034308


“The reporter who followed the Pride Parade was detained after being suffocated by his throat.”

Kılıc, who shared on his Twitter account, used the following statements:


https://twitter.com/Kilicbil/status/1408898398309257217


“I was intended to be killed, I was intended to be left breathless. I will hold accountable for whoever did this to me, in the Constitutional Court, European Human Rights, whatever, whatever court in this world, it will be held accountable in court as long as I live. It will not be left for the Supreme Court.”

These are some of the photos in LTGB pride by Bulent Kılıç took before he was taken into custody


https://twitter.com/yasinnakgul/status/1408901737059082257

This is what happened in Turkey in just a day or even a few hours. It is obvious that the censorship applied in Turkey is one of the worst during nowadays and this kind of dictatorial pressure must end soon in the country.

erdogan rainbow flag
A Photo of “Neo Sultan Erdogan” draped in LGBT and make-up since he hates LGBT 🙂

Sources:

Freedom House : Turkey: Authorities Violently Disperse Pride Event

 Ishtiaq Hussain (15 February 2011). “The Tanzimat: Secular Reforms in the Ottoman Empire” (PDF). Faith Matters. Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 October 2016. Retrieved 5 December 2014.

Wikipedia: LGBT rights in Turkey

See report of Kaos GL: Turkey’s LGBT History: The 1990sArchived 24 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 16 October 2009.

6th İzmir Pride Parade: ‘We’ll Walk Up to Fear'”. bianet.org. Retrieved 12 June 2018.

The Economic Outlook of Turkey in June 2021


From humble beginnings Recep Tayyip Erdogan has grown into a political giant, reshaping Turkey more than any leader since Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the revered father of the modern republic.

But in recent years the economy has deteriorated. Inflation is nearly 12% and the Turkish lira has slumped against the dollar. Coronavirus is exacerbating Turkey’s economic woes.

When he became Turkish leader back in March 2003 the lira rate was 1.6 to the dollar – now it is above 8.0. His early years in power were marked by solid growth and a development boom.

1: Turkish Lira Exchange Rate to US Dollar, Source: XE

The World Bank on April estimated that Turkey’s poverty rate rose to 12.2% last year, from 10.2% in 2019, and said returning to pre-pandemic levels would be a challenge. The World Bank also states that Turkey’s economic and social development performance since the early 2000s has been impressive, leading to increased employment and incomes and making Turkey an upper-middle-income country. However, in the past few years, growing economic vulnerabilities and a more challenging external environment have threatened to undermine those achievements. 

The World Bank said the impact of the pandemic would be a “struggle to shake off” globally but that Turkey’s economy is expected to grow 5% this year due a recovery in exports.

It warned that rising inflation in advanced economies could lead to “destabilising movements in global liquidity away from emerging markets” and added that growth prospects could also be hit by a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

Analysis

For most of the period since 2000, Turkey has maintained a long-term focus on implementing ambitious reforms in many areas, and government programs have targeted vulnerable groups and disadvantaged regions. Poverty incidence more than halved over 2002–15, and extreme poverty fell even faster. 

During this time, Turkey rapidly urbanized, maintained strong macroeconomic and fiscal policy frameworks, opened to foreign trade and finance, harmonized many laws and regulations with European Union (EU) standards, and greatly expanded access to public services. It also recovered well from the global financial crisis of 2008/09.

The Turkish economy was one of few globally to expand in 2020 despite coronavirus fallout, thanks largely to a credit boom around mid-year.

Overall inflation was around 12% – and near 20% for food – for much of last year before climbing. Tourism revenue sharply declined and exports fell, leading to a large current account deficit.

The government in response topped up employee wages and banned layoffs, keeping a lid on the unemployment rate.

The recent Turkish crisis, started in 2018, was caused by the Turkish economy’s excessive current account deficit and large amounts of private foreign-currency denominated debt, in combination with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s increasing authoritarianism and his unorthodox ideas about interest rate policy.  Some analysts also stress the leveraging effects of the geopolitical frictions with the United States and recently enforced tariffs by the Trump administration on some Turkish products such as steel and aluminum.

The Turkish lira keeps to fall when comparing to the dollar and euro (as strong currencies) and has come under more pressure in recent weeks, in a continuing crisis that started in 2018, as investors try to assess whether the country’s central bank will heed the demands of its president to cut interest rates. But a rate cut could drag the lira down further at the same time that the country’s high inflation rate is already diminishing the currency’s buying power.

The overall macroeconomic picture is more vulnerable and uncertain, given rising inflation and unemployment, contracting investment, elevated corporate and financial sector vulnerabilities, and patchy implementation of corrective policy actions and reforms. There are also significant external headwinds due to ongoing geopolitical tensions in the subregion. 

COVID has deepened gender gaps and increased youth unemployment and the poverty rate. The risk of inequalities has also been increasing. The COVID-19 crisis is expected to have severely negative consequences for Turkey, further weakening economic and social gains.

There is an “exchange rate illusion” in Turkey’s economic growth data, according to Enver Erkan, chief economist at Istanbul-based Tera Yatirim, who’s ranked by Bloomberg as the most accurate forecaster on Turkish GDP data.

Noting that the GDP per capita in U.S. dollar terms dropped nearly 40% since 2013 to around $7,700 last year, Erkan said Turkey’s recent economic model isn’t sustainable as the growth is mainly driven by consumption supported by government spending and loan campaigns.

A stronger dollar would also add further pressure to the Turkish lira. Turkey’s currency hit a record low on June 4, when it fell to 8.7532 lira to the U.S. dollar, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for lower interest rates by July or August. That has left investors to assess whether the country’s central bank will heed Mr. Erdogan’s demands.

Mr. Erdogan has fired three central bank chiefs in less than two years, and he prefers low rates as a part of a strategy to encourage growth. His reluctance to have higher interest rates could mean that investors’ returns are eroded. A recent rise in the cost of oil past $70 a barrel is also likely to boost inflation in Turkey.

Turkey’s consumer price inflation eased to 16.59 percent year-on-year in May 2021, from a near two-year high of 17.14 percent in the previous month and below market expectations of 17.25 percent. Still, the rate remined well above the central bank’s medium-term 5 percent target, with upward pressure coming from food and non-alcoholic beverages (17.04 percent vs 16.98 percent in April), transport (28.39 percent vs 29.31 percent), housing and utilities (14.08 percent vs 13.60 percent), furnishings, household equipment and routine maintenance (21.79 percent vs 22.27 percent), hotels, cafes and restaurants (17.73 percent vs 16.81 percent), clothing and footwear (5.75 percent vs 11.03 percent), and miscellaneous goods and services (17.92 percent vs 18.27 percent). The core consumer price inflation rate, which excludes volatile items such as energy, food and non-alcoholic beverages, alcoholic beverages, tobacco and gold, slowed to 16.99 percent in May from 17.77 percent in April.

2. Turkish Inflation Rate, Source: Trading Economics

Turkey’s Industrial Output

3.Turkey’s Industrial Output in March 2021

Turkey grew faster than all Group of 20 nations except for China in the first quarter after nearly stalling a year ago when Covid-19 struck. It’s been bolstered by robust consumption on the back of last year’s government-led push to cut interest rates and boost lending.

Gross domestic product rose 7% from a year earlier and 1.7% from the fourth quarter. The median of 22 forecasts in a Bloomberg survey was for 6.3% growth compared to the same period in 2020.

“This comes at the expense of lira and price stability,” he said.

The government pushed banks to ramp up lending to help businesses and consumers ride out last year’s Covid-19 emergency. The credit boom was coupled with a front-loaded easing cycle that helped prime the economy. That growth push weakened the currency by 20% last year and kept headline inflation in double digits. The size of the economy dropped to $717 billion last year from $760.8 billion a year earlier.

  • Automotive Industry

Turkey’s automotive production, including light commercial vehicles, tractors, and automobiles, amounted to 532,441 million units in January-May, a sectoral report revealed on Monday.

The sector posted a strong recovery with a 28.2% increase year-on-year in the January-May period, after dramatic falls last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic measures.

Last year, the automotive production narrowed by 11% versus 2019 and decreased by 34% year-on-year in the first five months.

While the sector surpassed 2020 figures, it could not reach 2018 and 2019 figures yet, when the production was 712,022 and 625,946 units, respectively.

4. Turkey’s economy Outperforming in first quarter of 2021, Source : Bloomberg
  • Exports

According to the country’s Trade Minister ,Turkey’s foreign sales powered ahead as exporters achieved their second-best May ever.

Exports surged 65.5% year-on-year to reach $16.6 billion (TL 142.48 billion) last month, Muş told a news conference in the capital Ankara.

Sales were up from nearly $10 billion a year ago, battered by the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic that had temporarily shut borders.

They increased despite the strictest lockdown yet that covered part of May. Turkey remains a big trade power in the world as its trade continues rising.

Turkey shipped US$169.5 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2020. That dollar amount reflects an 18.8% increase since 2016 but a -0.9% drop from 2019 to 2020. That figure also represents roughly 0.9% of overall global exports estimated at $18.709 trillion one year earlier during 2019 (calculated as of February 17, 2020).

Applying a continental lens, 55.7% of Turkey’s exports by value were delivered to European countries while 26% were sold to Asian importers. Turkey shipped another 9% worth of goods to Africa. Smaller percentages went to North America (6.9%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (1.7%) then Oceania led by Australia, Marshall Islands and New Zealand (0.7%).

5.Turkey’s Trade with the European Union, Source: EUROSTAT
6.Turkey among the world’s largest traders of goods, 2019, Source: Eurostat
7. Turkey’s Top Trade Partners, 2019 , Source: Eurostat
8. Turkey among the EU’s main partners for trade in goods, 2020, Source : Eurostat
9. EU trade with Turkey by product group, 2010 and 2020, Source Eurostat

The breakdown of EU trade with Turkey by SITC groups is shown in Figure 6. The red shades denote the primary products: food & drink, raw materials and energy, while the blue shades show the manufactured goods: chemicals, machinery & vehicles and other manufactured goods. Finally, other goods are shown in green. In 2020, EU exports of manufactured goods (84 %) had a higher share than primary goods (12 %). The most exported manufactured goods were machinery & vehicles (44 %), followed by other manufactured products (22 %) and chemicals (18 %). In 2020, EU imports of manufactured goods (87 %) also had a higher share than primary goods (12 %). The most imported manufactured goods were other manufactured products (43 %), followed by machinery & vehicles (39 %) and chemicals (6 %).

10. EU trade with Turkey by group, 2010-2020, Source: Eurostat
11. EU imports of goods from Turkey, 2020 Source Eurostat
12. EU exports of goods to Turkey, 2020, Source: Eurostat

Sources:

1; The Wall Street Journal: Turkey’s Troubles Point to Emerging-Market Risks as Economies Recover, Accessed: 19th of June 2021

2. World Bank. Country : Turkey : Overview. Accessed : 19th of June, 2021

3. Wikipedia: Turkish Currency and Debt Crisis, Accessed : 19th of June, 2021

4. Bloomberg: Turkish Economy Likely Outperformed Most Peers But at a Cost, Accessed : 19th of June, 2021  

5. Borzou Daragahi (25 May 2018). “Erdogan Is Failing Economics 101”. Foreign Policy.

6.“Inflation rise poses challenge to Erdogan as election looms”Financial Times. 5 June 2018.

7.  Matt O’Brien (13 July 2018). “Turkey’s economy looks like it’s headed for a big crash”Washington Post.

8. “Turkey’s Lessons for Emerging Economies – Caixin Global”http://www.caixinglobal.com. Retrieved 20 August 2018.

9. Goujon, Reva (16 August 2018). “Making Sense of Turkey’s Economic Crisis”Stratfor. Archived from the original on 16 August 2018.

Mediterranée Notre Mer à Tous & d’autres Documentaires de Yann Arthus-Bertrand// Mediterranean Sea: the sea of us all & other Documentaries by Yann Arthus-Bertrand


Après ses documentaires « Vu du ciel », « Home » ou encore « Planète océan » ou le nouveau “Human“, voici le film évènement de Yann Arthus-Bertrand réalisé avec Michael Pitiot sorti il y a quelques années en arrière.

Continue reading Mediterranée Notre Mer à Tous & d’autres Documentaires de Yann Arthus-Bertrand// Mediterranean Sea: the sea of us all & other Documentaries by Yann Arthus-Bertrand