Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan sees the Turkish lira collapsing before his eyes. So what does he do? That’s right: the same thing he always does. Blames others (unnamed “terrorists”) for his problems:
— Mark Lowen (@marklowen) January 12, 2017
“Everyone already sees and knows the attacks that Turkey has been subjected to also have an economic aspect. There is no difference between a terrorist who has a weapon or bomb in his hand and a terrorist who has dollars, euros and interest in terms of aim,” Erdogan said. Of course it’s not clear which terrorists with dollars and euros he’s referring to, but apparently, all those who ditch the lira in favor of foreign currencies are now deemed terrorists. As the Turkish president “explained”:
The aim is to bring Turkey to its knees, to take over Turkey and to distance Turkey from its goals. They are using the foreign exchange rate as a weapon.
According to Erdogan, those “terrorists” who use violent terror attacks in combination with some kind of currency war will get their comeuppance in the end. You see, in the end, he and his allies will come up with “new rules and new institutions” to change the current order. He’s currently evaluating opportunities to do so, which include “finding new markets to export to” and developing new “methods for tourism.” How he’s going to get more tourists by cracking down on freedom of the press, prolonging the state of emergency, locking up his opponents, and doing little to combat ISIS (which carries out terror attacks on a regular basis nowadays) is anyone’s guess, but apparently Erdogan is convinced he’ll have the answers eventually.
Although the paranoid style has always played a big role in Turkish politics, Erdogan has truly turned it into an art form. It’s clear to anyone with half a brain that a combination of terrorism (who’s to blame for letting these people into the country, Mr. President?) and Erdogan’s own autocratic policies are weakening the lira, but he’s having none of it. It must all be someone else’s fault.
The sad fact of the matter for Turks (who are suffering financially because of the lira’s implosion) is that none of it will change if Erdogan doesn’t change his policies. The best way to promote your currency is by respecting the rule of law, respecting human rights, defending the freedom of speech and the freedom of opinion, and providing stability rather than insecurity. If one thing is clear, it’s that he has no intention to do so. And that means that Turks had better prepare for some very, very difficult times.
As for this comment on Twitter directed at yours truly:
@MichaelvdGalien He means currency speculators who specifically target the lira for political purposes
— Nuri Yalçın (@nuriyalcin) January 12, 2017
If Erdogan truly has information that certain individuals and groups are purposefully trying to undermine the lira, he needs to name them and produce that information for the public to see. It is known that currency manipulators can do great damage to a country’s currency — just look at what George Soros did decades ago to the British pound. But when that happens, it’s quite simple to show who did what, when and how. It’s up to Erdogan to prove that these activities are what have caused the collapse of the lira.