Brief: Turkey Comes Around on Economic Reform

EU sanctions would have made things go from bad to worse.

Background: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan can no longer ignore the (most recent bout of) trouble Turkey is in. The economy is in shambles, support for his Justice and Development party is declining, and the European Union has threatened to impose sanctions on Ankara for its activity in the Eastern Mediterranean. What Happened: In the face of public pressure over the Turkish lira’s record lows and the recent departure of Turkey’s central bank chief and finance minister, Erdogan has announced a bevy of legal and financial reforms meant to restore the economy and “raise the bar” for Turkish democracy and freedoms. He provided few details outside vague commitments to mobilize domestic and international entrepreneurs for investment. But the president’s primary focus is on his crackdown against his political opponents. Turkish authorities have issued arrest warrants for more than 100 members of the Democratic Society Congress accused of having links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a group Ankara considers a terrorist organization, and the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party. The Turkish military, meanwhile, dismissed more than 5,000 personnel believed to have links to FETO, a group associated with Erdogan’s exiled rival, Fethullah Gulen. Bottom Line: This is all right out of Erdogan’s playbook. […]

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