Leading economist reveals Erdogan’s lies about Turkish economy’s bankruptcy
BY HARUT SASSOUNIAN
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is completely ignorant about economics, has met the CEOs of 26 major US companies and told them many lies about the Turkish economy. The reality is that the Turkish economy is bankrupt and millions of Turkish citizens are on the brink of starvation, as the coronavirus rages like wildfire, making Turkey the fifth largest country in the world in terms of infections.
Here are some of the lies Erdogan told the US CEO:
“None of the problems encountered in many countries and disruptions in the supply chain have been encountered in Turkey. At a time when many economies around the world were shutting down, we continued to invest in both the public and private sectors.
“Thanks to the efforts of our private sector, the support of our state and dynamic epidemic measures, our economy ended 2020 growing. With a rate of 1.8%, we have become the G-20 country with the strongest growth after China.
“Despite the severe economic contraction of our traditional export markets and the contraction of foreign demand, we reached an export figure of 170 billion dollars. The volume of trade between Turkey and the United States increased by 4% and exceeded $ 21 billion.
“During the period January-April 2021, our exports increased by 33.1% compared to last year.
“Our industrial production increased by 12.3% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same quarter of the previous year. There is also a significant increase in investment demand in Turkey.
“Total US direct investment in Turkey reached $ 13 billion, while Turkish business investment in US reached $ 7.2 billion. I want to thank all American companies who trust Turkey and the Turkish economy.
Surprisingly, Erdogan then decided to inform the American CEOs of President Joe Biden’s recognition of the Armenian genocide on April 24, thus informing them of the horrific mass crimes committed by Ottoman Turkey against the Armenians.
“Even though President Biden’s statement on the events of 1915 places an additional burden on our relationship, I believe that our meeting with Mr. Biden at the NATO summit [in June] will herald a new era, ”Erdogan said hopefully.
Erdogan then contradicted his many cruel, inhuman, anti-Semitic and racist statements and public policies by asserting: “We have never allowed and never will allow distorted mindsets such as xenophobia, anti-Semitism and racism to find ground in our society. We resolutely continue our efforts to reform the economy, freedoms, laws and justice in accordance with changing conditions and needs. We have presented our human rights action plan and our economic reform package to the public.
Here is the list of CEOs Erdogan met:
Cargill, David Webster, Senior Vice President – Food Ingredients and Bioindustrial Companies; DowAksa, Douglas Parks, CEO; Hilton, Chris Nassetta, President and CEO; MetLife, Nuria Garcia, President – Europe, Middle East and Africa; Netflix, Spencer Neumann, CFO; Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Stan Deal, CEO; Kellogg Company, Steven Cahillane, President and CEO; Google, Karan Bhatia, Vice-President – Public Policy, Europe, Middle East and Africa and Asia-Pacific; GE Aviation, John Slattery, President and CEO; Varian Medical Systems, Chris Toth, CEO; PepsiCo, Silviu Popovici, CEO Europe; Amazon, Susan Pointer, Vice President – Public Policy; Cheniere Energy, Anatol Feygin, CCO; Citi, David Livingstone, President and CEO – Europe, Middle East and Africa; Procter & Gamble, Loïc Tassel, president – Europe; Progress Rail, Marty Haycraft, President and CEO; Tellurian Inc., Octavio Simoes, President and CEO; Medtronic, Rob ten Hoedt, senior vice president and head of Europe; Archer Daniels Midland, Ismail Roig, President – Europe, Middle East and Africa; Microsoft, Samer Abu Ltaif, Corporate Vice President – Head of Europe and Middle East; Cisco, Michael Timmeny, Senior Vice President and Chief Corporate Strategy Officer; Honeywell Aerospace, Mike Madsen, President and CEO; Nova Power Solutions, Steve Ziff, President and CEO; The Coca-Cola Company, Jenny Stoichkova, President – Europe and Middle East; Johnson & Johnson, Giorgio Milesi, President – Emerging Markets; and Baker Hughes, Zaher Ibrahim, vice president – Middle East, Turkey, North Africa.
Let us now turn to one of the best economists in the world, Daron Acemoglu, an Armenian born in Turkey, who is now a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. His name is often cited as a future candidate for the Nobel Prize.
During a video interview, Acemoglu directly contradicted Erdogan’s propagandist image of the Turkish economy, saying: “I am very afraid that the economic crisis is getting worse in Turkey.
Here are excerpts from Acemoglu’s description of the deplorable state of the economy in Turkey:
“When Turkey went to the presidential election and all power gathered in the palace, it had a big impact on economic policy.
“These nationalist and authoritarian populist regimes or movements usually weaken the capacity of the state when it comes to power. It is both a strategy and something they are doing unintentionally because they cannot rule legally. We see it in India, Brazil, Turkey, Russia and Hungary. “
“The countries where the most people died from the coronavirus in the world were Brazil, Turkey, India, Russia and populist authoritarian regimes like America under the Trump administration.
“Turkey has experienced the most critical economic crises in the past five years. There have been major crises that started not only after the pandemic, but also before the pandemic. The increase in debts, the deterioration of balance sheets, could we oppose them with a correct result? No why? There are few people in the bureaucracy who can properly manage and improve the economy. Especially the cadres established under Berat Albayrak [Minister of Economy and Treasury and Erdogan’s son-in-law] couldn’t bring the right approach to what needs to be done. Democracy has many advantages over dictatorships and authoritarian systems. But one of the biggest advantages is their tendency to keep the biggest mistakes, talents and incompetence in mind, is much lower. Especially when the presidential election in Turkey and all power gathered in the Palace, it had a great impact on economic policy.
“Especially in the last five years, unemployment and inequality have reached very high levels [in Turkey].
“Shopping centers and construction companies, which have had a huge problem on their balance sheets for five years, are still standing. How long will they be able to stand? What will be the effects on the banks? How long can we maintain the interest rate policy like this when our reserves are so depleted? These dimensions are likely to become much more negative.
These problems are not only in Turkey, there are also problems in other regions, but wherever you see these problems you see the role of decisions not to manage the economy well.
I hope American CEOs pay more attention to Acemoglu’s precise valuation than to Erdogan’s propaganda that led Turkey to economic disaster.