Reality Humbles Turkey’s Erdogan
In the last few weeks, the megalomaniac Islamist dictator of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, made a 180 about face turn regarding his relations with the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the USA and France, from his several years of antagonistic, warmongering, confrontational and insulting threats against them, to his recent fervent grovelling attempts at reconciliation, with all of them.
With his unlimited arrogance, Erdogan undermined NATO; supported ISIS for oil; picked fights with Cyprus, Greece and Israel (thus bringing them together in a solid friendship).
His hatred of Israel and Jews actually backfired on Turkey economically, since hundreds of thousands of Israelis used to visit Turkey and spend millions of dollars with them.
For years, he was subverting as well as inciting Egyptians to overthrow their leader al Sisi and replace him with his Islamic favourites; the Muslim Brotherhood.
He defied America by buying Russian missile systems, thus losing trust with America which refused to supply him with the latest F35 stealth fighter.
It is one thing, that misfit dictators invariably make innumerable, bombastic but realistically useless threatening speeches against perceived enemies to impress the masses from a podium, and another thing, when the Reality Check of economic collapse due to endemic corruption and insanely bad economic decisions, stares them in the eye.
This is exactly what has transpired to the very arrogant and pompous and duplicitous Erdogan, who has now been turned into a meek, contrite but actually, deceiving one.
A decade ago, the Turkish economy was hailed as a success story all around the world, as investors flocked in with cash and direct investments and the Anatolian Tiger spurred annual growth to double digits.
It was a high time for world liquidity, as the European Central Bank and US Federal Reserve had been pumping money into the markets to alleviate the reeling impacts of the 2008 financial crisis.
The lira was stable, and Turkish citizens’ purchasing power grew as income per capita crossed the $10,000 per annum threshold.
In 2014, 1$ was equal to 2 Liras (50%); a relatively steady condition.
Fast forward 7 years to June 2021, and the lira was repeatedly recording new lows against the US dollar; 1 $ is now equal to 8.6 liras (11.6%); a drop of 23%.
Some economists calculate the actual unemployment rate at 13 percent, while net central bank foreign reserves are estimated at $10.6bn; the lowest in 18 years.
The two main drivers of the currency crash were Turkey’s high current account deficit (in other words, more money was going out than coming into the country, leaving it reliant on foreign investment, which can be very short term) and high levels of private foreign-currency denominated debt (debt denominated in foreign currencies becomes harder to service the weaker the borrower’s currency becomes).
Adding to these disasters, an almost comedic but an extremely serious series of tell-all YouTube videos have been put up recently almost weekly, by the iconic faces of an exiled mafia boss that has stunned the Turkish nation and turned him into an unlikely social media phenomenon.
Each video, is watched by millions of Turks, accusing a group of prominent Turkish political and military figures in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by the Interior Minister Suleiman Soylu, of organized crime, murder, rape, rampant corruption, drug trafficking and funding for jihadist organizations in Syria.
This is the story of Turkish mafia boss Sedat Peker.
Peker rose to prominence in the 1990s, at the height of relations between politics and the Turkish mafia, when it was revealed that the Turkish secret service had collaborated with gangsters in carrying out internal and external political assassinations.
He has had a rich criminal history. He had been sentenced to several prison sentences in Turkey, but had ingratiate himself so close to the Justice and Development Party, that it provided him with protection and cover, for having organized rallies in support of Erdogan.
The charges included a long list of influential members of the Justice and Development Party and various crimes committed by SADAT (the first and the only company in Turkey, that internationally provides consultancy and military training services) under the supervision and direction of senior military and intelligence officials.
It is noteworthy that SADAT is a company that is loyal to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and works to strengthen the Turkish defence industries, which are controlled by his family.
It was established in conjunction with the period of unrest that coincided with the so-called “Arab Spring”- to support terrorist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, in Arab countries that suffered unrest with weapons supplied by Turkey.
Erdogan relied on this company in an operation that targeted thousands of military officers and officials after the alleged attempted coup against him in 2016.
Peker publicly admits his involvement in some of the criminal enterprises, for example: his people attacked the offices of a newspaper in 2015 and threatened scientists calling for peace in Turkey’s long-standing conflict with the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party). On the orders of AKP officials, he helped seize the assets and property of the enemies of the ruling party.
SADAT acknowledged that the Justice and Development Party government sent weapons to the Syrian wing of al-Qaeda in trucks across the border as food aid to the Syrian Turkmen.
The Turkish people are literally glued to his videos not only for their sensational exposes but also, as entertainment watching a mafia Don shattering the character of political leaders whom they all suspected of corruption.
Peker confirmed in an eighth video – which he posted on his YouTube channel – of Turkish Intelligence cooperation with mafia gangs to smuggle weapons to terrorist militias in Syria, especially the fighters of Jabhat al-Nusra in Aleppo in 2015.
Under Erdogan, Turkey has been turned from the secular state – that its founder Kamal Ata Turk succeeded in founding – into the usual, fundamentalist Islamic Sharia compliant dysfunctional state: incredible degrees of corruption; intolerance of all non Muslims; hate-mongering; warmongering; racist and backward thinking.
Because of Erdogan’s total control of the media, the intelligence services and the armed forces, he most probably will continue his dictatorship till he dies or is assassinated while his people continue to pay the price for and suffer his incompetence.