The Republic of Turkey is consumed by intense conflict, conspiracy charges, and underlying financial problems that simply won’t go away. A perfect storm is brewing in Turkey.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government and supporters are charged with a secret gold-for-oil deal with Iran. The deal, in violation of trade sanctions against Iran, enriched the PM’s ministers and other key supporters involved (including the PM’s son), according to prosecutors. The deal also involved misreporting billions of dollars in trade, which, in turn, resulted in Turkey overstating national income and understating its current account deficit.
A more ominous charge focuses on Erdogan’s open support of a wealthy Saudi known for funding al Qaeda and the PM’s alleged support of Al Qaeda fighters engaged against the Syrian government. Just today, we say this headline:Turkish governor blocks police search on Syria-bound truck reportedly carrying weapons . Erdogan is a strong supporter of the Syrian rebels, assumed recipients of the weapons.
The crisis started on December 17, 2013 when dozens of Erdogan’s close associates were arrested for corruption. The arrests included the CEO of Turkey’s state bank caught with million in euros stuffed in shoeboxes. Charges and arrests continued. Prosecutors and police who handled the case were fired at the behest of the Prime Minister. The Turkish supreme court ruled that the government couldn’t interfere with police investigations through firings and intimidation. Undeterred, Erdogan fired more prosecutors claiming the charges were an attack on the Turkish state. To top it all off, authorities banned reporters from police stations and pressured the media to stop focusing on the scandals.