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OPINION: Central Bank governor says “Don’t worry be happy”

A common vocabulary invented to obfiscate truths and alien to the rest of the nation is soooo Big Brother, no?

OPINION: Central Bank governor says “Don’t worry be happy”

The state of Turkey, including all of its bureaucracy,  is either suffering from mass delusion, or are taking anti-viral drugs which have severe hallucinatory effects.  The administration is still trying to assure the public that the Coivd-19 epidemic will blow over in a few weeks, as the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey’s (CBRT) Deputy Governor Oğuzhan Özbaş said Sunday Turkish economy is expected to post a high growth rate in the first quarter of this year due to a strong January and February, stressing it would be one of the economies to see the least damage from the coronavirus outbreak, which is in the process of delivering a global recession.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told Mr. Mehmet Acet of pro-government daily Yeni Safak that he doesn’t approve the Western leaders “who spread pessimism among their nations”, does that mean lying to them is preferable?  In fact, spreading pessimism is highly discouraged.  Several physicians and medical researchers who tried to warn the public about the infectiousness of the disease and the prospects of an Italy-style outbreak have been forced by their superiors to retract their statements.

 

According to another pro-government daily, SABAH: Oguzhan Ozbas continues:  “With its dynamic structure, the Turkish economy will be one of the economies to see the least damage from this process and overcome it in a short period,” Özbaş told Anadolu Agency. “With a slowdown in the spread of the pandemic, we will see that Turkey’s economy will start recovering rapidly.”

 

“Dynamic” is the favorite word of Mr. Albayrak who uses it at every occasion to mean that he doesn’t know what will happen next and he is ready to ditch all his plans and promises if things don’t go his way.

A common vocabulary invented to obfiscate truths and alien to the rest of the nation is soooo Big Brother, no?

 

SABAH continues: Turkey has ramped up measures to cushion the impacts of the pandemic. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently announced a TL 100 billion (around $15.4 billion) relief package that slashed taxes for hard-hit sectors and unlocked funding for workers, while the central bank has flooded the financial sector with cheap lira liquidity.

 

The country’s lenders have also stepped up, announcing loan packages for their customers that include some flexible payment options and corporate debt restructuring, especially for the badly hit tourism and transportation sectors.

 

All of these are true, but cash relief to families of the unemployed has been slow in the coming. So far, only 17 thousand firms applied to the Unemployment Insurance Fund to have their workers collect unemployment checks. Yes, workers are not permitted to apply directly. The fact that they are unemployed must be certified by their employers.  Come figure!

 

“We have not yet received the significant sign of a weakening in consumption, other than travel expenditures,”  CBRT governor Özbaş adds, as if he doesn’t live in Turkey, where most shops have shuttered and there is scant traffic on the streets.

 

CBRT Governor Murat Uysal Thursday said the bank will vigorously use all its policy tools to ensure the efficient functioning of financial markets throughout the coronavirus outbreak.

Uysal also said the central bank was closely monitoring the impact of the outbreak on the Turkish and global economies.   Once again, these are words without a meaning, suggesting that CBRT has no plans except those dictated to it by President Erdogan.

 

So, what does our beloved Chief thinks about the corona outbreak? This is his last official statement I could come across, dated 26 March:

 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed that the country can overcome the coronavirus pandemic with as little damage as possible within the time frame of two to three weeks.

 

Addressing the nation in a televised speech yesterday, Erdogan called on Turks to practice patience and support for the government’s actions and said that Turkey is prepared for every possible scenario.

 

“By breaking the speed of the virus’ spread in two to three weeks, we will get through this period as soon as possible and with as little damage as possible,” he said.

 

He made assurances that “bright days await us, so long as we adhere [to] the warnings, remain cautious and careful,” adding that “every citizen’s life is equally valuable to us. That is why we say, ‘Stay at Home, Turkey’.”

 

He is certainly staying in his thousand room Palace, chairing Cabinet and committee meetings via teleconference. Lucky him.   As for the rest of Turkish citizens,  they are probably trying to decide which is worse:  Covid-19 or a lackasaidical government?

 

Damian H. Grande

 

 

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