Skip to main content

Erdogan’s war on the market economy

Challenging the tenets of the market economy, Turkish leaders have portrayed the country’s economic downturn as a foreign plot to discredit the government — an attitude that signals a dangerous course for Turkey.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan leaves Eyup Sultan mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, December 11, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer - RTX2UIEV

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s shift from a reformist to an authoritarian path has been accompanied by an insistent narrative that a “supreme mind” is behind Turkey’s woes. For Erdogan and his aides, the supreme mind is a foreign hand with an influential network inside Turkey that plans, orchestrates and triggers every crisis, unrest or setback in the country.

Who the foreign hand is, is not exactly clear. Sometimes the term alludes to the United States, sometimes to Israel and, most recently, to the international economic and political system. For the government, the supreme mind extends to a wide range of actors — from local collaborators and influence networks to financial funds and the banking system, from covert and dangerous structures such as the Gulenists to liberal intellectuals.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 for annual access.