“We are beginning to see echoes of the old practice of asking friends traveling abroad to bring back electronics, clothes and even books, as we did in the 1980s, when Turkey was yet to liberalize its economy and a pack of Marlboro Reds was considered a generous gift.”
– quoted in the New York Times
With inflation at 15.4% officially and expected to rise, Turkey is in a tough spot. President Erdogan is feuding with his NATO ally America and his currency is in free fall. In a more political post I’d suggest that having himself elected Super-Extra-Special Potentate means President Erdogan maybe should have been careful what he asked for.
But for visitors, Erdogan’s problems make it just about an ideal time to plan a trip to Istanbul, via the outstanding Turkish Airlines international network, while the Lira stands at fifteen American cents and struggling. So far foreigners haven’t been scapegoated and you can still get a beer in Karaköy and Beşiktaş. And Turkey, while civility prevails, is a fabulous destination.
See a larger version of the Istanbul photo above, and 385 other photos in the Turkey Gallery at EarthPhotos.com.
Reserve a little thought space for the upcoming Turkish elections. Both presidential and parliamentary elections are coming in nine days time, and by most accounts President Erdogan finds himself in a tightening race. An article in Bloomberg titled Why Erdogan’s Election Has Gone From Shoo-In to Nail-Biter writes about
“the prospect Erdogan wouldn’t work with a hung parliament and instead call an election do-over if the results were not to his liking.”
The president said Monday that
“he expects the next presidential and parliamentary elections to end in the first round, with little possibility of a second one.”
But a Reuters poll just out today shows Ergodan
“falling short of a first-round victory … with his support dipping 1.6 points in one week…. The poll also showed his ruling AK Party was forecast to lose its parliamentary majority in the June 24 vote.”
So, we may expect an excess of media riches on Sunday, 24 June: England vs. Panama, Japan vs. Senegal and Poland vs. Colombia in the World Cup, and Erdogan versus a more-than-usually-united opposition in the Turkish Election Sweepstakes.
Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey. Click to enlarge. 385 more photos from Turkey here.
Day labor. Eminönü, Istanbul, Turkey. Click to enlarge.
Earlier this month I published the post Erdogan & Northern Cyprus, in which I admitted ignorance about the aggressive Islamification of Turkish Cyprus. Now that it’s on my radar, I have found new news in the Washington Post today, which may be behind a paywall for you, so here is the first bit:
NICOSIA, Cyprus — The editor of a left-wing Turkish Cypriot newspaper on Monday accused Turkey’s president of instructing supporters to launch a violent attack against his publication’s offices over criticism for Ankara’s military offensive into Syria.
Sener Levent said his newspaper Afrika won’t be silenced in calling out Turkey’s policies either in the breakaway north of ethnically-split Cyprus or elsewhere.
This has to be seen in light of Turkish President Erdogan’s Afrin moment, obviously. The question now, in both incidences, is where will Mr. Erdogan stop. The so-called international community should have something to say on Afrin, though I continue to search in vain for a White House response. In Cyprus, the question is, is Mr. Erdogan is content to merely boil frogs, or does he mean to cause real trouble?
For a little bit of a longer view, here is Cypriot hopes for unification are on life support, but not doomed from theconversation.com.