Turkey’s election is certainly one to watch. It’s got a host of colourful characters with dark pasts and interesting nicknames, from Gollum to She-Wolf. Especially interesting, though, are the fascinating new economic theories being bandied about.
Now, inflation is a problem that is usually left to central banks to deal with independently. Central banks raise interest rates to reduce money supply and rein in inflation, and lower interest rates to increase money supply. But apparently, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, incumbent President, has different ideas. Erdogan’s masterstroke to deal with money flow problems isn’t demonetization (phew) but it’s something equaly counterintuitive.
How do you reduce inflation? Reduce interest rates, says Erdogan. And give me more control over the central bank.
Concerned investors reacted with a truly heartening show of support, immediately panic-selling the Turkish lira and sending it into a spiral. Perhaps Erdogan thought that this would help him gain some political capital – after all, blaming foreign entities has proven to be a great tool to keep dictators in power. Unfortunately, Meral Aksener, one of the frontrunners for the upcoming June election, has a solution: comedy.
Here’s one of her zingers, paraphrased: “Everything Erdogan touches turns to dust. He once called (Syrian President) Bashar Al-Assad ‘Brother Assad’. Well, I hope he never calls me ‘Brother Meral’.”
Her reaction to Erdogan’s brilliant plans for the economy? “Our country’s situation is like a bus on the edge of a cliff. And unfortunately, in the driver’s seat of this bus, there is a tired driver. It is irresponsible for this driver to insist on sitting in that seat.”
That said, Aksener isn’t nearly the frontrunner for the race, despite all the attention she’s received from Western media outlets amazed by the fact that a woman is running for office in increasingly conservative Turkey. Aksener’s history of overseeing deep state atrocities has led to a split in opposition unity, with the Pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party, the second-largest party in the current Parliament, refusing to vote for her. The nationalist, anti-Erdogan alliance still has many obstacles to clear before it can get into the driver’s seat.