Turks are divided over the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to a new poll conducted by the US think tank Pew Research Center ahead of the country’s first presidential elections.
The survey, carried out in April and May, found a majority of 51 per cent dissatisfied with the direction of the country with only 44 per cent satisfied and an even split on the question of whether Erdogan’s influence has been good or bad with 48 per cent of Turk’s taking either side.
By Anthony Skinner of Maplecroft
Even before the disaster of Tuesday’s explosion at a mine in western Turkey, questions were being raised about the future of prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It is yet another example of the volatility that seems to be perpetual in the country.
In recent months, the lira has gone from being one of the worst performing currencies in the world to one of the best. Many investors were reassured by the victory at March’s municipal elections of Erdogan’s centre-right Justice and Development Party (AKP), in the midst of a battle for influence and power with the moderate Islamist Gulen movement.
Let bygones be bygones
So, how are the seemingly vexed relations between Turkey’s government and the country’s biggest company, Koc Holding? Not as bad as all that, according to Mustafa Koc, the man who heads the family-controlled conglomerate.
By Anthony Skinner of Maplecroft
Previously respected for his political vision and acute instincts, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan may increasingly become a liability for his ruling Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP). The premier’s campaign to quash dissent in civil society and the business community, his righteous criticism of EU and fellow NATO allies, and impressive array of conspiracy theories are a big concern.
Listen to recent speeches by Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and one thing becomes immediately apparent: he is not short of opponents. Or rather, his perception is that he is not short of opponents, and he’s equally unafraid of naming them.
Having spent much of the past six weeks blaming the international media, international plots and the mysterious and previously unknown “international interest rate lobby” for the widespread anti-government demonstrations over the past six weeks, he has now chosen to target Turkey’s own domestic credit sector.
By a curious coincidence, the Istanbul Stock Exchange’s Monday opening was delayed by an hour just as investors were steeling themselves for another torrid day.
Just as conspiracy theorists were wondering whether it might be the first attack in the assault on “speculators” promised by premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, officials announced it was all due to “a technical problem” with index calculation.
However, any relief was short-lived. The BIST 100 opened 2.4 per cent down and still trading 1.8 per cent lower an hour later. Meanwhile the lira fell more than 1 per cent against the dollar.
Supporters cheer premier Erdogan on his return
By Taha Ozhan of Seta
Taksim is one of the least visually attractive squares in Turkey. A group of critics had been vocal, for some time, about their opposition to the renovation plan of the square. The plan was accepted unanimously at the city council receiving the support of all of the opposition parties. But critics continue to demand that Gezi Park in Taksim Square be left untouched.
A few words from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was all it took to send the Turkish stock market plunging on Thursday afternoon.
Prices were steady until Erdogan threw down the gauntlet to anti-government protestors, saying that the law must be upheld, that a minority could not dominate – and that the controversial planned development in an Istanbul park, which prompted the unrest, would go ahead. Shares plummeted 8 per cent before recovering to finish ‘only’ 4.7 per cent down [updated]. That took the total fall since the demonstrations began to around 11 per cent.
By Marcus Svedberg of East Capital
One should be careful in drawing parallels between seemingly similar events in different countries. But there are a number of striking similarities between the protests in Turkey and the recent events in Russia.
These are two radically different emerging markets but there are common denominators among the protestors, the regimes, and in the triggers for the unrest. One conclusion is that the protests are not about economics: but economic development does help to explain why these tensions have emerged now. And that raises the old question – does economic development foster democracy?
By Timothy Ash of Standard Bank
Demonstrations continue to rage in Turkey and there is still no sign of an no olive branch extended by the government to the demonstrators. Prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has claimed that calm would be restored upon his return from a trip to north Africa – likely Wednesday. Meanwhile, unions representing 240,000 public sector workers declared two days of industrial action.
One thought for the day – the demonstrators have been calling for Erdogan’s resignation. While I think this is very unlikely, what if it happened? Who could possibly replace Erdogan and what would be the consequences?
By Atilla Yesilada of GlobalSource
The mass protests over the decision of the Istanbul municipality to fell trees at Gezi Park in the city sparked commentary that a “Turkish Spring” is underway.
No, this is not a Turkish Spring. But it is no less unique and potentially lethal to the economy. The ruling Islamist AKP needs to understand that the half of the population that has not voted for the party is crying out for attention. If these people’s demands are not met, financial markets could experience an upheaval that would destroy Turkish economic stability, creating a vicious cycle that could rapidly erode the gains of the last 10 years.
In these difficult economic times, with disappointing jobs figures in the US and stagnation in the eurozone, the growth story of Turkey tells is a coherent one – or it would be, if all the country’s government signed up to it.
Turkey is the world’s leading jailer of journalists, says a hard-hitting new report on press freedom.
The report, compiled by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists and released on Monday, goes into some detail about each of the cases of 76 journalists – 61 who it says are imprisoned for their work, and 15 others held for reasons the investigators could not determine.
Has political risk in Turkey just gone up a notch or two? Or is the country’s population displaying its deep-rooted desire for stability?
From the look of things, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s plans to move from the prime minister’s to the president’s chair may be facing problems amid cracks within his ruling party. An opinion poll and a split inside the government on economic policy tell the story.