The Turkish Lira may have halted its record collapse against “reserve” currencies – for now – but the reality is that nothing has changed for the better in Turkey, and in fact things continue to get worse.
First, we learned earlier that as a result of a surging trade deficit, the Turkish current account gap for 2013 soared to $65 billion, higher than the $58.8 billion predicted by the government, and the second highest on record. And for those wondering, the increase in imports was not due to some economic recovery but was “to frontrun tax increases and restrictions on the use of credit cards that came into effect this year.” It led even Goldman to conclude that “today’s print does not confirm the tentative signs of improvement we saw last month.“
Which ties in to the second development out of the country, namely the ongoing political crisis. A smattering of headlines from today:
- Turkey Police Break Up Protest Seeking Jailed Officers’ Release
- Turkey’s Gul Cites ‘Problematic Issues’ in Internet Law
- Turkish Prosecutors Question More Businessmen in Graft Probe
- Prosecutors interrogated three more prominent businessmen implicated in corruption probe including those involved in 3rd airport construction in Istanbul, according to Hurriyet newspaper website.
And just so readers get a sense of the reality on the ground, here is a photo courtesy of Zeynep Tufekci showing how the government is treating not only protesters but its reporters:
Meanwhile, images from Ankara. Reporter knocked by water cannon. This, btw, is a sign of govt weakness, not strength. pic.twitter.com/25VAX5PEH2
— Zeynep Tufekci (@zeynep) February 13, 2014