Erdogan, at an interview with Amanpour from CNN, said that Turkey has everything investors look for in a country, because it is a strong and stable country. On the other hand, the situation in Turkey apparently is dire and there are five immediate problems that need to be solved in the short, not even medium, run, which can even lead to the end of Turkey. Because I do not consider any of them less important or urgent than another, please keep in mind that the order below is not according to those.
The Forthcoming Istanbul Earthquake
According to the experts, any moment including now an earthquake with a magnitude of at least 7 and intensity of 10 will hit Istanbul; the commercial, cultural and social centre of Turkey. Predictions by unbiased or objective organisations and up to 100.000 dead and times more injured are spelled out. It is highly questionable if the state, municipality or the residents are ready to face such a destructive event. The discourses from the first two are disappointing and a recent survey has shown that the residents are not preparing for it while not trusting to their fellow residents or the state.
Increasing Political Camps and Labelling
Erdogan is famous with separating people as we and the others. Recently he went even farther than his usual discourse and aims to not only label but also legally consider his political opponents as terrorists, which include, but not limited to, CHP, MHP and HDP (the parties at the parliament), nationalists, Gulen’s followers, or even women that can laugh in public. Even if there will not be such a law, past practices in Turkey show that his words are, regardless of being illegal or illegitimate, followed by Turkey’s jurisdiction. Following months might show more than half of the country to be considered as terrorists, not only Kurds as we are used to, and a civil war will be a high possibility.
Though recently it is claimed that Turkish economy has grown 4% in 2015, the bells are ringing for Turkey, especially for the last two years. According to Russian Central Bank’s data, on 1 January 2005, 1 US$ was 1,341 Turkish lira while as of 30 March 2016, it is 2,87. Proportion of imports covered by exports decreased only 0,5% since 2002 according to Turkstat, to 69,4 and no structural changes have been made in Turkish economy. Besides, agriculture sector is halted and prices of basic goods have increased rapidly. Foreign debts increased to almost 300 bn. US$ and if construction sector will halt for a month, economy can even stop. This fragile economy, if a sudden structural change will not happen, is not sustainable and just one speculation will be able to start a years-long economic crisis.
The first wave of Syrian refugees, some hundred thousands, are about to receive Turkish citizenship this year, and almost more than 3 million refugees will be granted citizenship by 2021. It should be noted that they neither know Turkish nor are adopting into Turkish culture because of various reasons, mostly because of the government’s open-border policy and lack of efforts in integration and rehabilitation. Considering that the Kurdish minority are not welcomed at parts of Turkey, even though they are culturally similar to Turks, the outcomes can, and probably will, be devastating for Turkey.
Though the government launched a full scale attack on PKK, even in expense of civil casualties or psychological destruction of the people, but this did not make the country a safer place but vice versa. The process from 2013 to mid-2015 helped PKK to settle in South-Eastern cities and towns, as well as in the big cities like Ankara and Istanbul. This is one reason that there is even more tightened security measures are applied in these. Along with that, mostly because of the open-border policy against Syria, the level of IS threat is not even known and is unavoidable. If things will get out of control, which is expected by the society for this summer, there are other organisations that definitely will benefit from the situation.
There are other, and fundamental, problems of Turkey like the lack of quality in education, far from fair distribution of wealth, levels of tax burdens among the rich and poor, micro-discriminative clans… yet I believe that these five need attempts of solution no later than tomorrow as Turkey is not ready at all to carry the burdens of these possible huge problems.