Two weeks before Turkey’s Black Friday, the August 10 meltdown of the lira, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was in Johannesburg attending a summit of the BRICS countries. Taking its name from the initials of its member states—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—BRICS is a club for five major emerging national economies. Erdogan attended their summit to promote Turkey as the newest member of the club. “If you take us in, the name of the platform would become BRICST,” the President told reporters.
Since then, Erdogan has found himself in a currency crisis of his own making. Having eschewed conventional monetary policy, appointed his son-in-law as the Minister of Finance and Treasury, and declared interest rates the “mother and father of all evil,” Erdogan can only explain the plunging lira in the context of an “economic war” against the nation. Just weeks after Erdogan lifted the state of emergency he had declared after a bloody coup attempt in 2016, Ankara is back in crisis mode, ready to fight the nefarious foreign forces that, in Erdogan’s imagination, conspire to prevent his New Turkey from becoming a reality.
Aykan Erdemir is a former member of the Turkish parliament and a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where John Lechner is an intern. Follow Aykan on Twitter @aykan_erdemir.