Turkish president may have to step down from the position
As the value of the Turkish Lira is falling continuously against the American dollar, the depreciation has eroded the purchasing capabilities of consumers and companies as a result of which the rising cost of food, medical care, energy and other essentials has pushed millions of Turkish citizens closer to poverty, the policy Research Group reported.
In fact, during the 2019-20 fiscal, the Central Bank of Turkey sold USD 128 billion in a ‘Save Lira’ campaign which lead to the shrinkage of reserves to a record low of USD 7.55 billion instead of propping up the Lira.
Ankara tried to lower interest rates numerous times to calm inflation and expand its economy however, the move ended up as a disaster for the beleaguered President as gasoline prices increased to 9.67 TL from 7.76 TL in November 2021 and now stand at 19.80 TL, with an increase of 105 per cent.
Moreover, President Erdogan played a key role in the Ukraine-Russia conflict by hosting grain shipments and cease-fires, providing Ukraine with drones, and bloc Sweden and Finland from entry into NATO for its own convenience.
As per the reports by POREG, Turkey’s inflation almost touched the 75 per cent mark, the highest in any G-20 nation.
Due to the Ukraine war and the subsequent disruptions in the supply chain, Turkey imports almost all of its energy needs making it vulnerable to price swings in the world energy market. Moreover, Turkey has no insurance on the commodities front as well.
Turkey’s poverty threshold for a family of four has risen to 16,052 Liras four months ago which is almost four times higher than the minimum wage which stands at 4,250 Liras, the policy research group reported.
At the same time, the hunger line reached 4,928 Liras, which is 675 Liras more than the minimum wage. The unemployment rate as per Turkstat rose to 22.9 per cent this January as the reign of repression continues.
Whether, as Noam Chomsky says, “Erdogan is destroying the remnants of democracy in Turkey while basically trying to create something like the Ottoman Caliphate, with him as caliph”, is not relevant to this commentary. Nor is the critique that in recent years, Turkey under Erdogan has experienced democratic backsliding, corruption and media curbs, POREG reported.
Erdogan’s party, Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi (AKP) have once lost control of Istanbul and Ankara for the first time in 25 years, especially in five of the six largest cities of the country three years ago.
Turkey has already slipped into general election mode with the ballot scheduled for early next year, but the increasing mass discontent may not benefit Erdogan’s prospects in the upcoming elections, the report said.