© 2018 by Robert Person.  The views expressed on this website are my own and do not represent the official policy of the U.S. Army, Department of Defense, or U.S. Government.

Mar 26

Erdogan Tries to Ease the Pain of Turkey’s Bad Economy. It’s Still Hurting.



The New York Times article discusses the decline of Turkish economy and its effect on the government. As article argues the turkey is in economic downturn. Turkish lira lost more than 25 percent of it’s value and the food prices are rapidly increasing. The Turkish government has intervened in the markets to contain the prices and avoid political fallout. As article describes the government sent out inspectors to keep prices down at the markets. The wholesalers have expressed their outrage and the president of turkey has compared the wholesaler’s reaction to that of terrorists. As article argues the government is deflecting responsibility of the economic downturn in Turkey. Erdogan blames the rising cost to foreign conspiracy and accuses money-grubbing middlemen of extorting customers. President of Turkey is lashing out opposition politicians for whipping up a fake campaign of economic hardships. Additionally, the support for the AKP party has been declining for past few years. The party failed to win majority in the parliamentary elections last year and had to create a coalition with national movement party. Moreover, even though Erdogan maintains to be the most popular politician his rating is steadily declining.

The economic downturn in turkey and political repressions clearly show similarity to what Ronald Wintrobe describes in the article The Tinpot and the Totalitarian: An Economic Theory of Dictatorship. For the last 5 years turkey has been often compared to a dying democracy. The democratic level in the country has been on decline and president of turkey was has often compared to a dictator. I am making assumption that turkey is a Tin Pot. Even though turkey still holds elections and has a regime structure of democratic republic. Due use of administrative resources, and massive repressions I am assuming that regime in the turkey cannot be changed though elections. Thus, I am assuming that turkey is a dictatorship. In Tin Pot dictatorship dictator uses minimal resources to stay in power. As we know Tin Pot dictator just needs enough power to not be overthrown. Dictator employs repression and loyalty to stay in power. In loyalty I am referring to political rents that dictators give to a winning coalition in order to maintain a strong support. On the other hand, dictators also employ the repression. In order for a dictator succeed he needs to find a perfect balance between these two mediums. Too large Winning coalition will lead to many monopolies, dead weight loss and will have negative impact on economy. Thus, dictator needs to have as small winning coalition as possible and employ repressions only when necessary. According to Wintrobe’ s argument in a Tin Pot regime decline of economic performance leads to increasing repression and in economic rise the decline in repressions. Currently turkey is in economic decline and as theory predicts the government has increased repression. Currently Turkey has two options either to keep on repression or to develop economy and loosen up the ties in repression.


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