Boy, I’ll tell you what, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was in rare form on Sunday.
Despite what counted as a “convincing” rate hike from the central bank and tentative signs of stabilization notwithstanding, exactly nobody is convinced that Turkey is out of the woods yet when it comes to the economy and the financial sector.
For instance, data released on Wednesday showed inflation jumped to 24.5% in September, printing above even the highest analyst estimates (Bloomberg median was 21.1% YoY increase):
For now, markets seem to be in wait and see mode ahead of an assumed resolution to the Andrew Brunson standoff. If Brunson is released, it would likely defuse tensions with Washington and potentially open the door to sanctions relief, trade talks and, perhaps, progress on the lingering Halkbank issue.
In the meantime, though, Erdogan will be Erdogan.
Speaking in a televised speech from Ankara on Sunday, Erdogan made it clear that anyone holding their breath waiting on Turkey to appeal to the IMF for help amid the country’s ongoing financial crisis is going to asphyxiate themselves.
“Turkey won’t cross paths with the IMF ever again,” Erdogan said, adding that the country’s “business” with the Fund was “finished” in 2013. As far as debt rollover is concerned (and this is a big deal for market watchers), Erdogan said the rollover ratio is down to 109% as of last month.
On U.S.-Turkey relations, Erdogan said that Washington’s “going back to the Marshall Plan” has served to curtail Turkey’s progress and he again accused America of siding with “terrorists” in Syria. Erdogan’s displeasure with U.S. efforts to arm and support the Kurdish opposition in the fight against the Assad regime dates back years. He equates the YPG with the PKK and has variously maligned Washington’s efforts to support Syrian Kurds. On Sunday, he said U.S. troops are “fighting side by side with terrorists”.
Speaking of Kurds, Erdogan reiterated that HDP is “not a legitimate political actor” and as far as CHP is concerned, he needs you to know that Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is a “coward”. That comes a day after he (Erdogan) cancelled a planned deal to have McKinsey & Co. consult on the country’s financial situation. That deal was heavily criticized by CHP.
But the highlight of Erdogan’s Sunday comments came when he indicated that going forward, he’s going to be personally involved in the investigation into the whereabouts of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
You can read the full backstory on that here, but suffice to say it looks like Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, likely on the orders from Mohammed bin Salman. On Saturday, we said this about the situation:
If Erdogan comes to believe bin Salman is murdering people in Istanbul, he (Erdogan) will lose his damn mind.
Here’s what Erdogan said on Sunday:
As president, I am pursuing. We’re waiting for the prosecutor’s statement. My expectation is still well-meant.
I hope we won’t encounter an undesirable situation.
As you’re probably aware, Erdogan doesn’t do well with “undesirable situations”.