What we’re watching: Poland drops foreign media ban, Somalia’s power struggle, Erdogan vs. Istanbul

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From: Office of His Excellency Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey

My dear Turks,

I am writing this with a heavy heart, but with a very fine pen.

We have seen large-scale government borrowing, a currency crash, runaway inflation, and central bank resignations because its leaders wanted to lower interest rates.

No, my friends, I’m not talking about the last few months, a scene painted by biased western media, who even doubts I graduated from college (of course I did, although no one seems to believe me, but I digress).

I rather refer in the dark days of 1994, when you voted for me as mayor of Istanbul.

The financial crisis that we were going through then had paralyzed us. I got you out of this mess by doing everything I could to beautify Istanbul. I brought you green buses, I built you recycling factories. I even gave you my e-mail address to allow you to have a direct role in governance. Certainly, my experience has changed Istanbul, the city for centuries. So, I decided to rule for centuries.

But not without challenges. When you elected me Prime Minister in a landslide in 2002, we were crippled by another financial crisis, thanks to the incompetence of those I had replaced: reading it was totally out of control, trust in the economy was so weak that nearly two-thirds of bank accounts were held in foreign currencies and allegations of corruption against former rulers had weakened our great nation. Of course, no such vilification – be it about corruption, mismanagement, or desperate dollarization – can be leveled against my current government. I repeat, none!

Let’s go back to those early days. When I took over, things immediately changed. We bounced back, as the great Ottomans did after their mediocre European campaigns (unfortunately our own recent European campaigns have been thwarted by continental arrogance and conspiracy). But back to that golden age of my first term: under my leadership, GDP nearly tripled in just four years, foreign direct investment has exploded, and unemployment and inflation have reached record levels.

My dear friends, you did not appreciate the good thing that you had for you.

You were ungrateful. You protested against progress. So I pushed back. And when your Western supporters got it wrong and attempted an extra-constitutional coup, I retaliated with a constitutional coup that rectified things and put me in charge properly.

Now you and your friends are doing it again, doubting my plans for our economic recovery.

My dear Turks, as I said recently in parliament, the Quran and I can assure you: with lower interest rates, there is less hassle – and more borrowing and spending! If we get rid of the evil of usury, you will be self-sufficient and produce more exports. Growth will follow, Inshallah!

I want to put your money where my mouth is: in my personal determination to cut interest rates, I even kept all the scissors I ever used on display. After all, my economy is built on family and friends, on the liberation of our workers, and on a war for economic independence.

Trust me, brothers and sisters. My plan, based on the theories of old and new economists, is now up to you. I will guarantee a return on your deposits, but only if your deposits are in lire. Things are already moving in your favor: the price increases have been offset by an increase in your wages. Foreigners are coming back, the lira is already bouncing back, even though I had to sell billions of dollars to intervene.

And what’s a little weakness in reading it if it helps us export the wonderful things we make to the world, eh? Our African brothers, also victims of Western predators, would they not be safer with more of our armed drones? Remember, my friends: we are in the midst of learned helplessness syndrome. The independence of the Central Bank is overrated, and not necessary for those who love their country! Orthodoxy is slavery! We will break these chains! Cok yaşa Türkiye!

And don’t forget, there is something like Turkish exceptionalism. It was the Turks who invented the COVID vaccine (even though they were in Germany). The Turks are doing the most to prevent Russia from invading Ukraine. It is the Turks who will help stabilize our brothers in Africa. Even Elon Musk – not a Turk but still a kind man who considered it an honor to meet me – promised to improve our search for the stars, putting our satellite in space.

We are a great nation, my friends. We have seen these bread lines before. But these Western reports of hunger and despair are getting old. I have no doubts that after we stop a run on the banks, when this is all over, we will be a breakout star. I urge you: do not believe the naysayers. Borrow freely, spend abundantly, enjoy life and don’t forget to vote in 2023!



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