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Turks demand 'helicopter money' as coronavirus crisis worsens

Turkey’s government faces growing pressure for direct cash injections to support the vulnerable masses as the coronavirus outbreak threatens grave fallout for the already ailing Turkish economy.
A general view of Istanbul, Turkey, on March 28, 2020 during the emergency of Coronavirus. (Photo by Onur Dogman/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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The mounting coronavirus outbreak in Turkey has caught the government in a feeble financial state, leaving millions at grave economic risk. While many governments have opted for direct cash payments to cushion the economic shock of the pandemic, Ankara has delivered little in this respect, having run out of financial resources since a currency crisis in 2018. Pressure is building up on the government to deliver more to the vulnerable masses as experts warn the country has reached a make-or-break point in containing the fast-spreading contagion.

The concept of “helicopter money” — or free cash as if dropped from the sky — has emerged as a major social and economic measure in government efforts across the world to cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The unconventional idea gained popularity during the 2008-2009 global financial crisis and earned Ben Bernanke, then the head of the US Federal Reserve, the moniker “helicopter Ben” for his advocacy of the concept. 

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