Record collapse of lira leads to massive protests in Turkey

by time news

Spontaneous protests were held in several districts of Istanbul and Ankara on Tuesday evening. The reason for the demonstrations was the sharp decline in the lira against the dollar. The Turkish currency dropped to a historic low of 13.4 lira per $ 1.

In the ankaya district of the Turkish capital, protesters withdrew with the slogan “Party of Justice and Development – resign!” The police tried to interfere with the protesters, including with barriers. They dispersed into nearby alleys, and then gathered again to march.

A video posted on Twitter from the Kurtulus district in Istanbul shows law enforcement officers trying to detain a crowd of demonstrators by blocking a street. In another video that was leaked online, rally participants can be heard chanting: “Government – resign!”

Istanbul residents also took part in a protest action in front of the Central Bank building. Some held a placard that read: “You have done your job badly, you will be judged, let the government resign.” During the processions, residents beat pots and pans.

The leaders of the opposition Republican People’s Party Kemal Kilicdaroglu and the “Good Party” Meral Akshener were accused of the incompetence of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. They also demanded early elections. Against this background, the head of state himself said that the presidential and parliamentary elections will be held as planned – in June 2023.

The leader of the Future Party, ex-premier and once close associate of the incumbent president, Ahmet Davutoglu, for his part, noted that the attitude of the Erdogan government to the economy is “not just ignorance, but a betrayal of the country.”

“I call on the leaders of all our political forces and the great Turkish nation to start a real economic war for independence against this betrayal,” the politician wrote on his Twitter account.

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The former head of the Cabinet also announced that in the near future he plans to meet with Kilicdaroglu and Akshener to discuss the current situation.

“Recently, we have seen a gradual deterioration in the socio-economic situation in Turkey,” comments MK. Dmitry Egorchenkov, Director of the Institute for Strategic Studies and Forecasts, RUDN University… – Indeed, both the coronavirus and some of Ankara’s political steps have a negative impact on the state of the local economy. And in its financial part it is most noticeable.

Quite recently there was the so-called “ambassadorial” crisis. Then several European and American ambassadors demanded that businessman and human rights activist Osman Kavala be released from prison. Erdogan reacted very harshly to this demarche, which immediately led to the fall of the lira. Now any sharp foreign policy step by Turkey and its leader leads to a fall in the national currency. This is a sad trend, which indicates that the Turkish economy is far from self-reliant. It very seriously depends on Europe, the United States, and the global situation in general.

Unfortunately, at the same time, all the difficulties that the Turkish economy is currently facing affect directly the lives of ordinary citizens, who, as the last elections showed, and so far not all supported the course of the ruling party of President Erdogan. And now they have more and more reasons to believe that it does not fully correspond, first of all, to their interests.

Let me remind you that Erdogan started to act on the concept of “zero problems with neighbors” quite a long time ago, and eventually came to a position when Turkey has problems with practically all countries, and most often they are of a military nature. In this regard, one can recall the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. The situation in the Caucasus should not be disregarded either. Ankara’s relations with Moscow, Brussels and Washington are also not ideal. They are developing along a complex curve. ”

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According to the expert, Erdogan does not have many options right now. He will continue to try to work with his main electoral base – primarily the rural population. Perhaps some additional tool of social support will be invented, which, by the way, is always done by politicians of a traditionally religious mindset. The head of state will have to think about more accurate foreign policy steps, at least in the future, when the Turkish economy is not in its best shape.

“The worse the economic situation, the more the population of Turkey will see both the fall in the exchange rate, and the fall in living standards, and the fall in industrial production,” said Dmitry Egorchenkov. – It is not known when the coronavirus cases, which deal the hardest blow to the country’s tourism, will end. This applies not only to Russian tourism, but also to European and many others. Therefore, those millions of people who were employed in this area see the deterioration of the situation and will demand that the government take real steps to level the situation. “

In turn Chief Editor of MK in Turkey Yashar Niyazbayev I am sure that the protests that are now taking place in Turkey do not yet look very serious: “They will subside in the near future. However, if the actions continue, they will be colorful and creative, as it was the other day when the Turks burned counterfeit dollars. Therefore, one should not expect that they will somehow influence the government. Erdogan’s resignation is out of the question. The only thing that can be talked about in this case is early elections. But this is not the situation, and not so the atmosphere of pressure and negativity that could push the authorities to take this step.

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The opposition will play a big role, as it has long been inclined towards early elections. If, of course, she manages to put pressure on the situation. She understands that Erdogan’s rating is not high, so now is the time to act. For his part, the Turkish leader is well aware of this, so he will not go to any early elections. The day before, he firmly stated that the vote would take place, as planned, only in 2023.

All economists and ordinary citizens understand that high inflation, which is now observed in Turkey, threatens a serious fall in the lira. And these factors, of course, will contribute to the impoverishment of the population. At the same time, Erdogan has no goal of stopping the fall of the lira. He does not see any problem in this at all. Currently, the president is determined to cut the interest rate. This is his main goal, which he voiced more than once.

Erdogan has his own vision of the economy. According to the Turkish leader, the low interest rate will contribute to the fall in inflation. He believes that in this way people will take out more loans in order to buy houses and engage in production. Moreover, it will help reduce unemployment and export cheap Turkish products abroad. “

Despite the sharp drop in the Turkish lira, according to the expert, there is no excitement at exchangers and ATMs in the country, and there is no increased demand for household appliances. The atmosphere is generally characterized as expectant.

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