Tayyip Erdogan’s plans to Make Turkey Greater Again run into some Make America Great Again problems:
Serap, a 23-year-old clerk at a clothes store in central Istanbul, is sure of who to blame for the precipitous slide in Turkey’s lira currency.
“This crisis is created by America,” she said.
The lira has lost more than 35 percent against the dollar this year and hit a fresh low on Friday, its biggest one day fall since Turkey’s 2001 financial crisis.
Food, rents and fuel prices in Turkey have all surged. The state pipeline operator last week raised the price of natural gas for electricity production by 50 percent.
Serap’s sentiments about the causes of the crisis are shared by many Turks and hint at why support for President Tayyip Erdogan, who won re-election in June with super-charged presidential powers, looks untouched, at least for now.
His loyal supporters see the currency sell-off as a U.S. attempt to undermine their country and president.
“If they have their dollars, we have our people, our God,” Erdogan said in a speech overnight, casting the lira’s slide as a campaign against the nation.
The US has whacked some significant tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium as part of President Trump’s “trade wars” agenda, but likely also because of Turkey’s continuing detention of an American pastor. As “Financial Times” reminds us with some useful charts, however, the fall and an even steeper fall of the lira has been a long process, set in motion by forces far predating Donald Trump’s involvement in politics:
God or Mammon – place your bets. The market already had.