Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Erdogan Casts Bankers as Villain of Turkish Protests

From Bloomberg:  As Turkey’s government seeks to rally support by identifying culprits behind the unprecedented explosion of anger that erupted in recent weeks, one group has featured on almost every list: bankers.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan began blaming a so-called “interest-rates lobby” in the first week after anti-government protests spread nationwide on May 31. Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan said “blood-sucking” financiers, seeking to push Turkey’s interest rates back up, helped provoke the movement that ignited over a police crackdown against people opposed to development plans.

The rhetoric resonates in a majority Muslim country where many remember skyrocketing borrowing costs that undermined the economy in the pre-Erdogan decade. In 2001, the year before his party came to power, the government spent more on interest payments than it earned in tax income. In the last two years the Islamist-rooted Erdogan, 59, and his ministers have frequently accused a rates lobby of working to undermine the economy....

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