Current News in Turkey
By David P Goldman
More than coincidence accounts for the visit to Iran by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on January 28, the same day that his economic policy collapsed in a most humiliating way.
As the Turkish lira collapsed to levels that threatened to bankrupt many Turkish companies, the country's central bank raised interest rates, ignoring Erdogan's longstanding pledge to keepinterest rates low and his almost-daily denunciation of an "interest rate lobby" that sought to bring down the Turkish economy. Erdogan's prestige was founded on Turkey's supposed economic miracle.
Hailed as by John Feffer of the Institute for Policy Studies, and as "Europe's BRIC" by The Economist, Turkey has become the Sick Man of the Middle East. It now appears as a stock character in the comic-opera of Third World economics: a corrupt dictatorship that bought popularity through debt accumulation and cronyism, and now is suffering the same kind of economic hangover that hit Latin America during the 1980s.
That is not how Erdogan sees the matter, to be sure: for months he has denounced the "interest rate lobby". Writes the Hurriyet Daily News columnist Emre Deliveli, "He did not specify who the members of this lobby were, so I had to resort to pro-government newspapers. According to articles in a daily owned by the conglomerate where the PM's son-in-law is CEO, the lobby is a coalition of Jewish financiers associated with both Opus Dei and Illuminati. It seems the two sworn enemies have put aside their differences to ruin Turkey."
US President Barack Obama told an interviewer in 2012 that Erdogan was one of his five closest overseas friends, on par with the leaders of Britain, Germany, South Korea and India. Full disclosure: as the Jewish banker who has been most aggressive in forecasting Turkey's crisis during the past two years, I have had no contact with Opus Dei on this matter, much less the mythical Illuminati.