Will Turkey withstand the onslaught of the West

Will Turkey withstand the onslaught of the West

Economists predict Ankara serious debt crisis. The country is in an unprecedented situation for itself, the search for a way out of which is tantamount to finding an alternative to the Western economic order.

Pastor to pastor

Having lost 40% since the beginning of the year, on August 13, the Turkish lira reached a historical minimum relative to the US currency. “Turkey owes its economic growth to low interest rates and foreign capital. These rates have allowed Turkish companies to take cheap loans to finance their projects, says The Atlantic. - However, now corporate debt has reached 70% of GDP, and this is one of the highest rates among developed economies. Moreover, most of these borrowings were made in foreign currencies, not in lire”.

Economists already predict that Ankara will face a serious debt crisis, and, as the former US ambassador to Turkey, Robert Pearson, correctly noted, Erdogan cannot defend the currency with a flag. It is unlikely that the Turks will be so patriotic that they will follow the call of the president and will go to change "the gold and dollars that they keep under their pillows" for liras.

The formal cause of the current escalation was the case of Pastor Andrew Brunson, an American citizen whom Turkey detained on charges of espionage and ties with the terrorist movements of Kurds and Gulenists. The piquancy of the situation is that the Turks are accusing the US of participating in the preparation of the coup d'etat, which was attempted in the summer of 2016. In October 2016, Andrew Brunson was arrested, and on July 25, 2018 was placed under house arrest.

Naturally, the United States demanded that the pastor be fully released and allowed to go abroad, but Erdogan refused. And not only because he intends to punish all those involved in the coup. According to Robert Pearson, Erdogan deliberately “takes Americans and Europeans hostage,” in order to force the United States to extradite Ankara Fethullah Gulen, the most influential Turkish preacher in Pennsylvania, who is Erdogan’s worst enemy today. Actually, the Turkish president did not hide his willingness to make an exchange. “You also have a pastor,” he told the Americans about Gülen. “Give it to us, and I will work with our justice to return your money to you.”

However, instead of returning Gülen, Washington on August 1 imposed sanctions against the heads of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Justice of Turkey. And the Americans did not calm down on this, having decided to punish Turkey not only politically. The punishment also took place in the defense sphere - the United States not only decided not to sell Turkey new F-35 aircraft, but even refused to supply several aircraft already paid by Ankara.

Bad relationship

The most serious punishment took place in the economy. On August 10, Trump doubled the customs duty on imported US Turkish steel (up to 50%) and aluminum (up to 20%). Actually, the American president himself did not hide the political background of this action, linking them with the fact that "our relations with Turkey are not good now." It is highly likely that Washington’s economic war against Ankara will continue - and not only because US Vice President Mike Pence promised to press until the liberation of Brunson. There are enough other reasons to take at least sanctions against Iran, which America introduces. They prohibit cooperation with Iranian companies not only to American but also to any other foreign legal entities - and Turkish companies, as is known, have very large views of the Iranian market.

Yes, Turkey responds with economy to the economy. In particular, the Turks have already increased import duties on a number of American goods, including doubling the rates on tobacco (up to 60%), cars (up to 120%) and alcohol (up to 140%). In addition, Erdogan called for a boycott of American electronics. He relies on Turkish patriotism and nationalism, saying that the country is under siege, both in economic matters and in other areas.

However, the problem is that the trade war declared by Washington Ankara has already served as a catalyst for the economic crisis in Turkey.

For sovereignty

The Turkish authorities, of course, understand the seriousness of the situation. And so they combine patriotic flag waving by Erdogan with a much less radical position of Turkish ministers, who (of course, on the instructions of the president) do not gain a political rating among Turkish nationalists during the crisis, but act from less radical positions and urge the US to resolve issues through dialogue. Actually, this dialogue is already underway - for example, at the recently held meeting of Trump's national security assistant, John Bolton, and Turkey's ambassador to Washington, Serdar Kilic (at the White House, it was noted separately that the meeting was initiated by the Turkish side). However, to reach a compromise will be oh, how difficult. First of all, because of the depth of the conflict itself, which is not at all about the pastor and not even about democracy.

Erdogan, of course, is far from an angel, and there are a lot of sins behind him ...
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