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Ankara turns blind eye to economic downturn

Turkey’s economy is on a worrisome course as tourism and export revenues fall.
An election billboard with a picture of Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and a slogan reads that: " 500 Billion Dollars Export" is pictured in Istanbul's financial district of Levent, Turkey, May 25, 2015. For the first time since coming to power in 2002, the AKP is heading into an election under fire over the economy, thanks to stalling growth, stubbornly high unemployment and worrying levels of household debt. That has given the opposition a new line of attack and highlights the difficulties a weake
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Turkey’s economy has entered a critical period. The prospect of snap elections remains alive despite six possible ways to form a coalition or minority government from the hung parliament the June 7 polls produced. The political impasse is already having a negative impact on economic indicators, atop the bruising effects of Russia’s economic crisis, civil strife in neighboring countries, the blockage of Turkey’s export routes to the Middle East and Africa, the prospect of the Fed hiking interest rates and the falling euro-dollar parity.

While Turkey’s revenues are decreasing, the burden of Syrian and Iraqi refugees has opened a virtual “black hole” in the economy. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan put the refugees’ bill at $6 billion, in a reproachful speech to foreign ambassadors in Ankara on July 9. “We are currently hosting 2 million people, including 300,000 from Iraq and 1.7 million from Syria,” he said. “The money we have spent for Syrians so far has exceeded $6 billion. But we have received only $400 million [in support] from international sources. Yet we’ll never withdraw our helping hand.”

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