Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Economist Snatched at Night, Questioned for 'Insulting' Erdogan

Mustafa Sonmez
Istanbul police briefly detained Mustafa Sonmez, an economist known for opposing the government's policies, for allegedly insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on social media, according to Bloomberg.

Sonmez was taken from his home early on Sunday to a police station in Istanbul, state-run Anadolu Agency reported. The economist, known for his critiques of Erdogan's ruling AK Party who also works as a columnist and television commentator, was released after being questioned largely over his tweets following local elections two weeks ago, according to his lawyer, Husniye Aydin.

"The police knocked on my door at about 3:50 a.m.," Sonmez said by phone on Monday. "They took my deposition at the police headquarters and then put me under custody. They had a file of about 20 of my recent tweets. I told them what I did constituted criticism, not insult."

In his latest posts on Twitter, Sonmez criticized authorities for not recognizing Ekrem Imamoglu as the winner of Istanbul's mayoral race after a March 31 election.

With regard to economics, he appears to be a run of the mill interventionist when it comes to youth unemployment

His solution for Turkish youth unemployment of 26% is:
In such an environment, social state support for the young becomes all the more crucial. Budget allocations for youths must be increased.
He is better, as far as he goes, with a solution for the current stagflation in Turkey:
In sum, the figures show that foreign funds are no longer coming to Turkey and that money has become more expensive abroad. Indeed, the foreign exchange movements in October offer another sign of Turkey’s transition from recession to depression. The flight of foreign money continued in October, reaching $1.5 billion in that month alone and $20 billion since July. This means that the Turkish economy, which is unable to grow without foreign funds, will continue to ail until the confidence of foreign investors is restored...
To start growing again, the Turkish economy needs a meaningful inflow of foreign capital. And the return of foreign investors depends on the improvement of domestic indicators, primarily inflation, and a significant easing in Turkey’s risk factors, meaning that the country’s risk premium should decrease at least by half to some 200 basis points. This, however, is not likely to happen soon.

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