The economic crisis impedes the expansionist aims of the Turkish regime
Turkey will suspend “for some time” the energy explorations launched last week in the south-east Aegean Sea, in an area disputed with Athens off the Greek island of Kastellorizo. Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told Turkish CNN. “Our president said: As the negotiations continue, we are constructive,” said Kalin, assuring that Ankara is ready to “discuss with Greece unconditionally.”
“Greece is an important neighbour of ours,” added the spokesperson for Erdogan, also hoping that the two countries can conduct joint activities in the disputed areas. He stressed that German Chancellor Angela Merkel played a constructive role in the de-escalation with Athens, claiming that the Aegean has not come to the brink of war as the German press reported. “We resolve our bilateral issues with Greece bilaterally. We cannot achieve results by using the fact of being a member of the EU as an instrument of pressure”, continued Kalin, also referring to the threats of sanctions by French President Emmanuel Macron for Ankara’s interference in Libya.
But what is really behind the setback of Erdogan’s expansionist, neo-colonial and Ottoman program?Without a doubt, one of the most incisive factors is the economic crisis, worsened by the coronavirus pandemic that shows no signs of stopping.Despite the optimism expressed by Erdogan and his Finance Minister Berat Albayrak regarding the first signs of recovery, Turkey is facing a crisis that goes beyond the economic sphere due to the health emergency, reverberating in political and social discontent.
The last alarm bell in order of time is the further devaluation of the Turkish lira against the euro, which stood at an exchange rate of 8,17. This data is very close to the exchange rate of 8.21 lire for one euro recorded during the Turkish currency crisis of 2018. According to expert economists cited by the British Financial Times, the main reason for the depreciation of the lira is the low confidence of Turkish and foreign investors in the ability of the Central Bank of Ankara to contain inflation without increasing interest rates, an obstacle by President Erdogan.
The economic situation and the difficulties of Ankara to face alone a crisis that is affecting most of the world’s economies is increasing social unease and also a critical vision of Erdogan’s regime policies. The economic situation is closely linked with Ankara’s foreign policy, in particular with its crazy interventions in Libya, Syria, and probably also in Yemen, where Erdogan is moving thousands of Syrian mercenaries and jihadists. In the last few days, internal tensions have increased for the Turkish activities in the eastern Mediterranean. If the purpose of Turkish explorations in the area in search of hydrocarbons is the country’s energy autonomy, the product could be the exact opposite in terms of support for the national economy in case of new sanctions against Ankara by the European Union, as requested by Macron.
The accusations launched by the leader of the Republican People’s Party (Chp), Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who stigmatized Erdogan’s neo-Ottomanism as a destroyer of the country’s foreign policy, are emblematic. Kilicdaroglu associates the hypertrophy of the Turkish president’s choices regarding the opening of multiple external fronts to the national crisis.Erdogan will soon have no choice: to accept the reality that his failed plan will inevitably mark his end.