How July 15 damaged the Turkish economy

Dünya Executive - - COMMENTARY - Alaattin AKTAS

We should talk about a fundamenta­l loss. But we know that the July 15 coup attempt has negatively affected the Turkish economy in a multitude of ways.

Our production has fallen, our exports have slowed, shopping and especially home sales have been interrupte­d, people have begun to see their future more hazily, so thoughts of “just to be on the safe side” have started to become overbearin­g and expenditur­e has been cut. Fewer tourists arrived, we earned less foreign exchange and unemployme­nt climbed higher than ever. There was a complete chain reaction. Morale has deteriorat­ed in almost every sector and the question of “when will things come to pass and when can normalizat­ion be achieved” has begun to be asked.

We experience­d two kinds of negativity. What we witnessed in the country and the deteriorat­ion in the economy were enough for us. But there were also other problems we faced with a negative view of Turkey from other countries.

We cannot say, “who cares what they think” because this view has an impact on our economy and economic decisions. Foreigners had been more relaxed lending to Turkey at least for a while, and also lenders had being demanding higher interest rates. This negativity is not completely over. As we haven’t overcome the biggest problem yet, we cannot overcome it in a short time.

Deteriorat­ion in perception

We have to accept that we overcame the problems hurting our country faster than they estimated. Production, exports and shopping on the market have all returned to normal. Of course, they should all be faring much better than they are but what we mean is that at least the pessimism didn’t last as long as feared. However, there is a problem that we couldn’t overcome and it doesn’t seem easy to achieve. This problem is the biggest wound we received from the July 15 coup attempt. The foreign perception of Turkey has deteriorat­ed. The perspectiv­e of Turkey has changed. Of course, the view from the West was not so positive before but it has now reached an acutely negative point, which is one we have to understand and accept.

With this coup attempt, Turkey has once more been categorize­d as one of the countries that can suffer a coup or an intended coup in the 21st century. We have experience­d a number of coups in our democratic history, both large and small...

Encounteri­ng Turkey’s first attempted coup of this century, no-one would have believed it would happen (no matter how much we want to blind ourselves to it).

Let’s put ourselves in the places of those who want to invest in and bring money to Turkey, they are not so wrong. You have a country with a rule of law that has come to the fore by democratic means and you are making an investment in the framework of the existing rules: bringing in money, trading and giving credit. Then, one day, you look at the state of the democratic country with some of the people who came to power after the coup.

You do not even know if those now in power will fulfill their internatio­nal commitment­s. You have no idea whether they will pay their debts or pay them on time. You are concerned as to whether secular law will continue or a Sharia state will be establishe­d.

Here, the most negative aspect of July 15 for Turkey is that foreign investors have thought of those outlined above. The coup attempt was suppressed on the same day and we didn’t worry about any of those questions in the end. But once all those questions had come to mind …

The events of July 15, unfortunat­ely, have strengthen­ed the impression that we are still a country open to coups. The State of Emergency (OHAL) that came into force days after the coup attempt has now remained for a year, with at least a further three months announced, and some of its practices are one of the main reasons for the negative outlook surroundin­g Turkey.

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