Turkey politics

One of the biggest questions facing Turkey is not so much who is going to win Sunday’s inaugural presidential election – prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is heavily favoured – but what kind of government the country will have afterwards.

If Erdogan does head to the presidential palace later this month, so vacating the premiership, a new government will have to take office-even though he has made clear his ambition to keep running the country. Read more

Here’s an example of what may pass for high finance Turkish style: talk down an asset and then try and nab it for yourself.

This may not be a path that is permitted for non-governmental actors, but then sometimes it seems that all roads lead back to the country’s government, notably its powerful prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Last week, he was quoted as lashing out at an Islamic bank in Turkey named Bank Asya. Read more

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. Read more

By David O’Byrne of bne in Istanbul

Turkish football is no stranger to empty stadia, with the football authorities regularly ordering matches to be played behind closed doors as punishment for the misbehaviour of fans and players alike. But the April 20 derby match between fierce Istanbul rivals Fenerbahce and Besiktas was different. Read more

If the US tapering its QE programme, or the widespread protests of mid-2013 weren’t enough to give investors an excuse to sell out of Turkey, what of the current political scandal? Surely the entrenched crisis provoked by the confrontation between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the police, prosecutors and judges has undermined confidence in the country?

Perhaps not. Analysts at Nomura have looked at the numbers, and it seems investors are largely staying put. Read more

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.

Really? Read more

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. Read more

Some respite for the Turkish lira on Monday after a surprise statement by Erdem Basci, governor of the central bank, saying the bank would not allow global monetary and fiscal policy uncertainty to have an impact on “price stability and financial stability in Turkey”.

Has Basci joined the “interest rate lobby” so despised by prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan? Read more

Does it matter that Recep Tayyip Erdogan has just named as his chief adviser a former journalist who alleges that foreign powers have tried to kill the Turkish prime minister by telekinesis?

Here are some reasons why Tuesday’s appointment of Yigit Bulut, a Sorbonne graduate who has also alleged that Lufthansa is plotting against Turkey (pictured), may be of relevance. Read more

One of the rules of thumb about understanding Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to watch what he does, not what he says. The Turkish prime minister is known for his capacity to come out with fiery rhetoric on occasion, but also for a record of reforms that outstrips most of his modern day predecessors.

Still, it may be getting harder to distinguish word and deed, particularly when it comes to Erdogan’s recent denunciations of an “interest rate lobby” hostile to Turkey and his apparent threats against the Koc group, Turkey’s biggest conglomerate. Read more

By Mehran Kamrava of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar

Three sets of processes, each in the making for some time, have converged to result in the violence of the last few days in Istanbul and other major Turkish cities. The volatile consequences of these processes have perhaps posed the most serious challenge to the once-unchallenged tenure in office of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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? Read more