Central Bank
Can the forex loss in Turkey be recovered without sending the bill to the public? If first signs of the establishment of political normalization, democratization and rule of law emerge in a powerful way in Turkey, then the “shrunken” foreign currencies will come back to the system.
If the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) sees an increase in erosion of their votes and the increased possibility of losing power in a possible election then it would "use all the ammunition till it is finished" for their own political continuity. But this would indeed mean leaving a “gigantic wreckage” for the citizens of the country.
A main opposition deputy recently slammed the finance minister's comments on Turkey's fiscal success, noting that public debt has nearly tripled in Minister Berat Albayrak's two-year assignment. The deputy added that the Treasury's public debt turnover rate is nearly 200 percent.
Turkey has revoked a requirement that Central Bank deputy governors have 10 years prior experience and dropped a rule that banks set aside 20 percent of annual profit, the Official Gazette showed on July 12. The provision, which envisages 20 percent of the bank's annual profit to be reserved as a reserve fund, has been repealed, the same decree said.
The Turkish central bank’s gross foreign currency reserves decreased by $73 million over the period of June 26-July 3. State banks buying liras and selling dollars in an apparent attempt to prop up Turkey’s currency is seen by many investors as a reason for a gradual drain on the central bank’s foreign currency reserves in recent months.
The trend in that started just before the presidential elections in 2018 and accelerated after the elections changed the chemistry of the economy in Turkey. Private sector in Turkey was restricted in every aspect. From pricing to sourcing, to investment licenses, all regulatory higher bodies worked to make the entrepreneurs feel that ‘the party state’ was watching them at every step.
According to newly surfaced information, Turkey's central bank governor Murat Uysal on May 1 held a phone call with Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell, Turkish media outlets have said. The phone call took place before Turkey secured a swap line with Qatar on May 20, providing some much-needed foreign funding to reinforce its depleted reserves and help steady the Turkish lira.
Turkey's central bank said on June 19 it had used a funding facility for Chinese yuan for the first time under a prior swap agreement with the People's Bank of China. It added that the move would strengthen cooperation between Turkey and China, and that commercial banks would be able to add products related to trade and financial activities with a strategy based on the swap agreement.
Turkey’s Central Bank has evaded its mandatory briefings to parliament, only performing three of the ten mandatory sessions in the past five years. Lawmakers say that the bank’s reluctance to report to parliament impedes “executive and inspection duties.”
Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak has announced that the Central Bank will provide a credit of up to 400 million Turkish liras ($59 million) with a maximum maturity of 10 years to companies which support exports and reduce imports.
The relationship between the government and the capital class is now at a deadlock. While the “Daddy State” maintains order, it now also manages the Central Bank and meddles with foreign currency. And though the AKP-led government is solely responsible for maintaining order, its economic fate depends on external factors.
The construction project for the general directorate building of the Turkish Central Bank's Istanbul Finance Center was awarded to the pro-government Limak Holding company in a closed-doors agreement, according to a report on the daily Sözcü. Central Bank authorities declined to respond to questions from Sözcü concerning other firms that offered bids or the amount of other offers, Sözcü said.
Ankara thinks it can obtain stability through the sale of foreign currency from the “back door,” which erodes reserves. Ankara has also resorted to bans and restrictions on foreign currency, but these are actually very old tools from the 70s.
Turkey’s banking regulator said on May 20 it would exempt Euroclear Bank and Clearstream Banking from recently-imposed limits on lenders’ lira transactions with foreign financial institutions. The BDDK said the move was meant to protect the clearing of lira-denominated bonds and sukuk, and to ensure Turkish lira securities are traded efficiently.
The swap deal limit between the central banks of Turkey and Qatar has been amended to $15 billion equivalent of Turkish lira and Qatari riyal. According to a statement from the Turkish Central Bank on May 20, the move aims to facilitate bilateral trade in respective local currencies and to support financial stability of the two countries.
Editor's Pick
duvar englis podcasts
Duvar English’s editor-in-chief Cansu Çamlıbel and pollster Can Selçuki are joined by Robert Bosch Academy's Galip Dalay to discuss the impact of Turkish government's recent domestic policy moves on Ankara's international relations. They look for answers to whether there is any possibility that Turkey's relations with the West might change for the better any time soon.
Taner Akçam writes: The regime’s bold stroke vis-a-vis Hagia Sophia should not be seen as stemming from desperation. Rather, it is simply meant to relay the not-so-subtle message of the path to be followed by the "New Republic", and that message is that the “annihilationist tradition” of the old regime, inherited by the Republic’s founders, will be retained in the era to come.
Politics
Some 40 percent of youth aged between 25-29 are financially dependent on their parents, said a deputy of main opposition CHP. "Some 40 percent of our 6.1 million young people in the age group of 25-29, i.e. 2.5 million, are neither in unemployment nor in education. Due to the ruling government's policies, our youth in this age group are unfortunately living in a way that is depending on their parents,” Veli Ağbaba said.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is planning to make changes in the electoral system when parliament reopens in October. Various commissions were formed to work on the changes on the Law on Political Parties, Elections Law and Parliament Bylaws, sources told Duvar, adding that the first draft bills of the next legislative year will concern them.
The U.S.' health protection agency CDC has designated Turkey as a risky place for COVID-19, urging Americans to avoid all nonessential travel to the country. "COVID-19 risk in Turkey is high. If you get sick in Turkey and need medical care, resources may be limited," the CDC said.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has named the party's new top brass, the Central Executive Board (MYK), after its 37th ordinary congress. The number of individuals in the CHP MYK was decreased to 16 from 18. Tuncay Özkan and Ünal Çeviköz were left out, while Böke, Ali Öztunç, Yüksel Taşkın and Ahmet Akın were handed posts.
The Ankara branch of Turkish Health Workers' Union (SES) has said that there are currently approximately 50,000 coronavirus patients in the capital, 3,500 of whom are receiving treatment at hospitals. The SES based this figure on the number of patients each family physician in the capital is monitoring for suspected coronavirus infection.
All passengers travelling from Turkey to Germany are required to take COVID-19 tests and those who do not submit a negative PCR test result will not be allowed to leave the country. However many questions are still unanswered regarding this new implementation as travelers still do not know where they will be placed under quarantine, who will cover the cost of their accommodation should they stay at a hotel and how their treatment will be actualized in Turkey.
Turkish archaeologist Dr. Vuslat Müller Karpe was buried in the ancient city of Samuha where she has led excavation work for the past 15 years. The 3,800-years-old settlement was a political hub in the Hittite civilization.
Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) data revealed that seasonally adjusted unemployment in May rose by 0.2 percent from May 2019. Some 4,166,000 people reported unemployment in May.
Ancient Roman toilets and baths will be displayed in southwestern Denizli's Tripolis settlement by summer of 2021. The excavation head noted that the toilets and baths were connected through waterways and sewage, adding the importance of toilets for Roman urban architecture.
The Akbük village in the Aegean province of Muğla was transferred to the Muğla Tourism Environment Foundation (MUÇEV), a company close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Though MUÇEV has the word “foundation” in its name, it is actually registered as a company under the legal name MUÇEV Tourism Commerce LLC.
Turkey's Saturday Mothers has called on the state to enlighten the case of Ferhat Tepe, a reporter for now defunct pro-Kurdish Özgur Gündem newspaper who was found dead after disappearing on July 28, 1993. The group said in its weekly demonstration on Aug. 8 that as a result of Turkish state's denialist attitude in the face of enforced disappearances, members of security forces who are responsible for serious human rights violations are not held accountable for their actions.
Economist and former Treasury advisor Mahfi Eğilmez has said that the Turkish economy is no longer predictable. "In an unpredictable economy, due to the fact the risks increase, this means that expenses will also increase,” Eğilmez wrote in a column on Aug. 5.
Şaban Vatan, the father of Rabia Naz who was found dead in a suspicious way two years ago, has been stopped by the police for wearing a t-shirt that read “Where are you justice?” and “What happened to Rabia Naz?” “So it turns out, a person's being in Taksim with a t-shirt that has Rabia Naz's picture on, is a crime," Vatan wrote on Twitter.
A prominent health expert has said that about 3,000 people are believed to have been infected with the COVID-19 virus during the prayers held at Istanbul's Hagia Sophia on July 24. "There were about 1,000 asymptotic patients there, based on forecasts. If we think of the transmission rate, those patients have infected 2,000-3,000 others. I believe that gathering will increase the cases in Istanbul,” Assoc. Pro. Dr. Üner said on Aug. 8.
Richard Moore, who served as British ambassador to Turkey from January 2014 to December 2017, has been named as the next chief of MI6. A fluent Turkish speaker, he studied at Oxford and first joined MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service, in 1987.
Turkey's parliament speaker Mustafa Şentop, from the ruling AKP, has said that there is no need for Turkey to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, an international accord designed to protect women. Şentop's comments came as the AKP is considering whether to pull Turkey out of the convention, alarming campaigners who see the pact as key to combating rising domestic violence.
Turkey's Arab Alawite community has celebrated the Gadir Hum holiday amid concerns of rising cases of coronavirus in Turkey. Mehmet Ali Dönmez, who organized Gadir Hum festivities in the Samandağ district of Hatay, which is prominently Arab Alawite, said that the celebration of the festival is in defiance of cultural assimilation.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has voiced support to Finance Minister Berat Albayrak amid the country's worsening economy. Several AKP officials, including Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, defended Albayrak on Twitter via using the hashtag "We stand with Berat Albayrak."
Amnesty International has called on the Turkish government to "fully implement" the Istanbul Convention rather withdraw from it. The prominent organization said that Turkey's withdrawal from the convention would have "disastrous consequences" for millions of women and girls in the country.
Rights organizations will take the case of Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal -- who have been on a hunger strike since April 5 to support their demand for a fair trial -- to the Constitutional Court. The move comes after an Istanbul court in July denied the release of Timtik and Ünsal, despite a medical report that says it is not “suitable” for the two lawyers to remain in jail.
Economy
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on July 15 that companies involved in construction of the TurkStream pipeline will be subject to the U.S. penalties unless they stop their works. “It’s a clear warning to companies. Aiding and abetting Russia’s malign influence projects will not be tolerated. Get out now or risk the consequences,” he said.
The Turkish Petroleum Refineries Corporation (TÜPRAŞ) ranked as Turkey's largest industrial business with 87.9 billion liras in annual production revenue. The oil company was followed mostly by automotive producers.
On the second anniversary of Turkey's transformation into a presidential system, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has prepared a report detailing how the country stands in the ensuing years, finding that the Turkish lira has lost four times its value since 2007.
Urban Beat
Mois Gabay writes: Do you think the Camondo family will be included in the Beyoğlu Culture Road project conducted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism? What about Arif Ergin’s “Tekvin” novel, in which he imagined that there would be a “Camondo Museum” one day?
Artifacts from Istanbul's ancient Hagia Sophia will be displayed in a nearby public building that will be transformed into a museum. Formerly used as a land office, the late-19th-century building in historical Sultanahmet will be converted on the president's orders.
Luke Frostick writes: Edanur Kuntman’s Tales from Behind the Window has been nominated for an Eisner Award. If she wins, she will be the first Turk to win an Eisner. The story is a piece of creative-nonfiction and its main narrative is drawn from the memories of Kuntman’s grandmother growing up in the Çarşamba district of Samsun.