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Lights Going Out in Turkey?


Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is donning his tinfoil hat, and investors, diplomats and even some of his supporters are not impressed with the new look. Erdogan has already identified the covetous “interest rate lobby” and other foreign “dark forces” at work, and he stood silent as his Deputy PM blamed the “Jewish diaspora” for Turkey’s woes. Now he has has appointed Yigit Bulut, a former journalist, as Turkey’s Conspiracy Theorist in Chief. The FT reports:

Bulut has been a vigorous supporter of the interest rate lobby theory in his newspaper columns, in addition to alleging during the protests’ height in June that “there is a constant push for Mr Erdogan’s death through telekinesis, remote influence and many other efforts”.

Turkish writer Mustafa Akyol told the FT that Erdogan’s recent moves are as political as they are philosophical:

It seems Erdogan’s need to maximise the vote in the presidential race is more important to him than Turkey’s relations with the West [the target of many of the allegations]. I’m worried about this newly discovered nationalism and where it is going to go.

Foreign investors are worried too. The FT reports that all the “interest lobby” fear-mongering is damaging the credibility of Turkey’s central bank, which is now having trouble defending the Turkish lira.

The AK Party has had its share of successes, but its turn toward tinfoil hattery suggests that there is a deep rot running through Turkey’s governing party. Worse, however, is the damage it will inevitably do to Turkey’s relations with the West and to the lives of average Turks.

[Image of Prime Minister Erdogan and Deputy Prime Minister Attalay courtesy of Wikimedia]

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  • Jim__L

    So apart from the OWS-like demonstrations and anti-Semitic responses to those demonstrations, what are Turkey’s actual economic / structural problems here?

    • Nick Bidler

      Jailing generals, journalists, etc. on charges generously described as ‘spurious,’ and the responses to aforementioned demonstrations including tear gas shot into hospitals where demonstrators were being treated.

      Cash-wise, Turkey is A-OK. Secular democracy, freedom of the press, and associated issues, not so much.

      • Corlyss

        “the responses to aforementioned demonstrations including tear gas shot into hospitals where demonstrators were being treated.”

        Oh, gosh! Why didn’t we think of that?

  • Nick Bidler

    Really, when is it *not* the Jews’ fault?
    (This was sarcasm.)

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