Turkey's economic crisis is a glimpse into the future of Trump's America

By On August 12, 2018

Turkey's economic crisis is a glimpse into the future of Trump's America

The charismatic president wins elections, but he’s also an unabashed authoritarian.

He fires up his predominantly rural and religiously conservative base with populist and divisive rants. He trashes multilateral institutions and insults nations that displease him. He puts his relatives in positions of power. He propagates idiotic economic theories. He complains about interest rate hikes by the independent central bank.

Donald Trump? No, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan's most controversial quotes

8 show all Recep Tayyip Erdogan's most controversial quotes

1/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes

Just a week before he was elected President, he called Erdogan Amberin Zaman, the Turkey correspondent for 'The Economist', a "shameless milita nt woman disguised under the name of a journalist" after she had asked an opposition leader whether "Muslim society is able to question" the authorities. "Know your place," ErdoÄŸan said. "They gave you a pen and you are writing a column in a newspaper. "And then they invite you to a TV channel owned by DoÄŸan media group and you insult at a society of 99 per cent Muslims," he said he said according to Today's Zaman newspaper. Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images

2/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes

Turkish people are pictured chanting slogans during an anti-government protest on Taksim square in Istanbul, on 29 June, 2013. The protests were sparked by brutal police action against a local conservation battle to save Istanbul's Gezi Park, and soon turned into nationwide demonstrations against the government. Amid the protests - the worst in Turkey for years - Erdogan accused demonstrators of being "arm-in-arm with terrorism," according to Reuters. "This is a protest organized by extremist elements. We will not give away anything to those who live arm-in-arm with terrorism," he said. GURCAN OZTURK/AFP/Getty Images

3/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes

During last year’s protests, activists used social media to organise and disseminate information. Several dozen tweeters were arrested following the protests, according to local media reports. Erdogan responded by calling the technology a "menace". "There is now a menace which is called Twitter," Erdogan said. "The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society," BBC New reported. Vladimir Astapkovich/RIA Novosti via Getty Images

4/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes

Not helping to allay accusations of authoritarianism, after Turkish police detained 49 people, including well-known business people and those close to the ruling party, Erdeogan ominously told reporter that Turkey "is not a banana republic" that can be affected by unnamed "operations", according to Today's Zaman newspaper. “People who are backed by the media and certain funders cannot change this country," he said. "People backed by certain dark gangs both inside and outside Turkey cannot mess with the country's path. They cannot change con ditions in Turkey. Turkey is not a country that anyone can launch an operation into. The [Turkish] nation will not allow that. The AK Party, which is governing this nation, will not allow this." Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

5/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes

Friends and relatives of the miners who died in an explosion at the Soma mine are pictured praying following the burial in Soma cemetery of the last body to be recovered from the mine in May 2014. At the time, the then-Prime Minister badly misjudged the Soma mining disaster, in which 301 workers died. He told the relatives of dead and dying miners that "these types of incidents are ordinary things", following allegations that the government had ignored safety concerns about the privately owned mine, the G uardian reported. In his defence, Erdogan recounted in a separate speech a list of mining disasters which occurred abroad, including a British disaster in 1862, and one in America "which has every kind of technology". Oli Scarff/Getty Images

6/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes

Palestinians pictured attending Friday noon prayers in a destroyed mosque that was hit by Israeli strikes, in Gaza City. As Prime Minister, Erdogan has condemned Israel, accusing it of deliberately killing Palestinian mothers and warned that the it would "drown in the blood it sheds." Speaking to thousands of supporters during a rally in Istanbul ahead of the 10 August election, Reuters reported him as saying: "Just like Hitler, who sought to establish a race free of all faults, Isr ael is chasing after the same target." "They kill women so that they will not give birth to Palestinians; they kill babies so that they won't grow up; they kill men so they can't defend their country ... They will drown in the blood they shed," he said. AP

7/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes

Amid the worst protests in Turkey for years which had spread across dozens of cities last June, Erdogan accused demonstrators of being "arm-in-arm with terrorism," according to Reuters. A demonstration to halt construction in a park in an Istanbul square grew into mass protests against a heavy-handed police crackdown and what opponents called Erdogan's authoritarian policies. "This is a protest organized by extremist elements," Erdogan said be fore departing on a trip to North Africa. "We will not give away anything to those who live arm-in-arm with terrorism," he said. Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images

8/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes

In March 2014, Erdogan accused a 15-year-old boy who died from injuries sustained in last year's anti-government protests of being linked to terrorism. Berkin Elvan, who became a symbol of anti-government protests, had gone to pick up bread when he was hit with a teargas canister - sending him into a nine-month coma before he passed away. In a speech broadcast on state TV, Erdogan said of Berkin: "This kid with steel marbles in his pockets, with a slingshot in his hand, his face covered with a scarf, who had been taken up into terror organisations, was unfortunately subjected to pepper gas. “How could the police determine how old that person was who had a scarf on his face and was hurling steel marbles with a slingshot in his hand?” ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images

1/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes

Just a week before he was elected President, he called Erdogan Amberin Zaman, the Turkey correspondent for 'The Economist', a "shameless militant woman disguised under the name of a journalist" after she had asked an opposition leader whether "Muslim society is able to question" the authorities. "Know your place," ErdoÄŸan said. "They gave you a pen and you are writing a column in a newspaper. "And then they invite you to a TV channel owned by DoÄŸan media group and you insult at a society of 99 per cent Muslims," he said he said according to Today's Zaman newspaper. Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images

2/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes

Turkish people are pictured chanting slogans during an anti-government protest on Taksim square in Istanbul, on 29 June, 2013. The protests were sparked by brutal police action against a local conservation battle to save Istanbul's Gezi Park, and soon turned into nationwide demonstrations against the government. Amid the protests - the worst in Turkey for years - Erdogan accused demonstrators of being "arm-in-arm with terrorism," according to Reuters. "This is a protest organized by extremist elements. We will not give away anything to those who live arm-in-arm with terrorism," he said. GURCAN OZTURK/AFP/Getty Images

3/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes

During last year’s protests, activists used social media to organise and disseminate information. Several dozen tweeters were arrested following the protests, according to local media reports. Erdogan responded by calling the technology a "menace". "There is now a menace which is called Twitter," Erdogan said. "The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society," BBC New reported. Vladimir Astapkovich/RIA Novosti via Getty Images

4/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes

Not helping to allay accusations of authoritarianism, after Turkish police detained 49 people, including well-known business people and those close to the ruling party, Erdeogan ominously told reporter that Turkey "is not a banana republic" that can be affected by unnamed "operations", according to Today's Zaman newspaper. “People who are backed by the media and certain funders cannot change this country," he said. "People backed by certain dark gangs both inside and outside Turkey cannot mess with the country's path. They cannot change conditions in Turkey. Turkey is not a country that anyone can launch an operation into. The [Turkish] nation will not allow that. The AK Party, which is governing this nation, will not allow this." Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

5/8 The Turkis h President's craziest quotes

Friends and relatives of the miners who died in an explosion at the Soma mine are pictured praying following the burial in Soma cemetery of the last body to be recovered from the mine in May 2014. At the time, the then-Prime Minister badly misjudged the Soma mining disaster, in which 301 workers died. He told the relatives of dead and dying miners that "these types of incidents are ordinary things", following allegations that the government had ignored safety concerns about the privately owned mine, the Guardian reported. In his defence, Erdogan recounted in a separate speech a list of mining disasters which occurred abroad, including a British disaster in 1862, and one in America "which has every kind of technology". Oli Scarff/Getty Images

6/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes

Palestinians pictured attending Friday noon prayers in a destroyed mosque that was hit by Israeli strikes, in Gaza City. As Prime Minister, Erdogan has condemned Israel, accusing it of deliberately killing Palestinian mothers and warned that the it would "drown in the blood it sheds." Speaking to thousands of supporters during a rally in Istanbul ahead of the 10 August election, Reuters reported him as saying: "Just like Hitler, who sought to establish a race free of all faults, Israel is chasing after the same target." "They kill women so that they will not give birth to Palestinians; they kill babies so that they won't grow up; they kill men so they can't defend their country ... They will drown in the blood they shed," he said. AP

7/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes

Amid the worst protests in Turkey for years which had spread across dozens of cities last June, Erdogan accused demonstrators of being "arm-in-arm with terrorism," according to Reuters. A demonstration to halt construction in a park in an Istanbul square grew into mass protests against a heavy-handed police crackdown and what opponents called Erdogan's authoritarian policies. "This is a protest organized by extremist elements," Erdogan said before departing on a trip to North Africa. "We will not give away anything to those who live arm-in-arm with terrorism," he said. Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images

8/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes

In March 2014, Erdogan accused a 15-year-old boy who died from injuries sustained in last year's anti-government protests of being linked to terrorism. Berkin Elvan, who became a symbol of anti-government protests, had gone to pick up bread when he was hit with a teargas canister - sending him into a nine-month coma before he passed away. In a speech broadcast on state TV, Erdogan said of Berkin: "This kid with steel marbles in his pockets, with a slingshot in his hand, his face covered with a scarf, who had been taken up into terror organisations, was unfortunately subjected to pepper gas. “How could the police determine how old that person was who had a scarf on his face and was hurling steel marbles with a slingshot in his hand?” ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images

Erdogan proclaims that phrases such as “democracy, freed om and rule of law” have “absolutely no value any longer”. Trump describes the media as the “enemy of the people” and attacks judicial decisions with which he disagrees. Erdogan has appointed his son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, as finance minister. Trump’s 37-year-old son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is his “senior advisor”.

Erdogan believes, despite all the evidence in the world, that low interest rates curb inflation, rather than stoking it. Donald Trump thinks, contrary to the view of every credible economist, that the US trade deficit can be eliminated by tariff hikes and trade wars, and that a current account surplus represents some kind of a national economic victory.

Erdogan says the United Nations has “collapsed” and describes the Dutch as “Nazi remnants”.

Trump labels the World Trade Organisation a “disaster” and talks of “shithole countries” in Africa.

Erdogan describes high interest rates as “the mother and father of all evil” and pledges to “take responsibility” for such issues.

Trump says he’s “not happy” about the Federal Reserve putting up the cost of borrowing.

The big difference between the two men? That, for Erdogan, the economic reckoning for all this populist destruction has arrived.

The Turkish lira is in free fall. After Erdogan’s in terference with its independence, few trust the central bank to be allowed to do what is necessary to restore calm to foreign exchange markets. The son-in-law finance minister lacks any credibility.

This is what happens when you undermine independent institutions, trample over norms of good governance, ignore expert advice and give free rein to nepotism.

Trump would fight special counsel subpoena to testify on Russia in court, says president’s lawyer

Turkey is, of course, in a profoundly different place from the US. The failed coup in 2016 was what accelerated Erdogan’s march into autocracy. Opponents of Trump are not locked up, unlike in Turkey. Journalists are not jailed in the US, unlike in Turkey.

Yet things can unravel remarkably quickly.

Just 14 years ago, Turkey’s institutions were considered to be of such sufficient quality â€" with its politics, too, moving rapidly in the right direction â€" that EU membership was a serious proposition. In 2006 even one Boris Johnson was making the case for its entry into the club. In those days Erdogan took advice from technocrats and experienced, credible political figures such as Ali Babacan and Mehmet Simsek. Few predicted he would morph into today’s demagogue.

Now consider the US’s trajectory under Trump. Degrading conduct by the president that would have been jaw-dropping from any of his predecessors, has become routine. Republicans turn a blind eye to behaviour that would have sent them running to start impeachment proceedings had it come from Barack Obama, or Bill Clinton (or Hillary).

There is a great deal of ruin in a nation, as philosopher and economist Adam Smith once told us.

By that, he meant that it’s usually premature to announce that a country is finished. Nation states can cope with a great deal of stupidity and corruption from their leaders and folly from their populations.

There’s momentum in an economy. Foreign capital continued to sluice into Turkey in great volumes despite Erdogan’s authoritar ian turn. The US economy is growing at its fastest rate in years, partly thanks to the decent foundation from the Obama years and partly thanks to Trump’s unfunded tax cuts. Unemployment is at its lowest in two decades. The stock market is booming.

Yet there comes a point when the ground gives way. And when the breakdown happens, it can happen very fast.

Turkey, under Erdogan, appears to have reached that point. How long will it be before America does the same? To have posed that question only two years ago would have seemed absurd. Alas, thanks to Trump and his enablers in the Republican Party, no longer.


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Source: Google News Turkey | Netizen 24 Turkey

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