Monday, February 18, 2013

Cracks in AKP's El Dorado economy, no gold

Cracks are showing in the "El Dorado" boom economy of the AKP period. Zaman reports:
Presence, hardships of homeless overlooked in blame for Sierra murder
17 February 2013 /TUĞBA AYDIN ,ISTANBUL
The issue of homelessness was brought to the country’s agenda recently after Sarai Sierra’s murder in İstanbul. ... 
Homeless people are generally individuals without strong ties to family or friends. ...
Hayrettin Bulan, the head of Şefkat-Der, told Sunday’s Zaman that there are currently around 10,000 homeless people in İstanbul and around 100,000 in the country. “There are only two homeless shelters that give service year round in the country. ..."
To be fair in the USA, where I live the homeless situation is much worse, despite a more powerful on paper economy. However due to the stronger social solidarity and family ties in Turkey, those homeless likely don't even have extended family that can help them.

 Debt is driving many Turks to desperate measures:
Hurriyet: More people trying to put their kidney on sale
February/18/2013, Dilara Sarı
The number of individuals applying to the Turkish Kidney Foundation to sell their kidneys as a way out of severe financial troubles has been rapidly increasing, with once weekly calls now coming 15 times a week, the foundation’s press representative, Gülizar Gün, recently told the Hürriyet Daily News. 

“We used to receive such calls once a week,” Gün said. “Now there are one, two people calling every day. They talk about credit card debt and family troubles.”  
Recent developments hint that the AKP's economic miracle is about over. Here is one of their best tricks from 2012:
Asia Times: The talented Mr Erdogan
By Spengler (David P. Goldman), Dec. 4, 2012
The United States is shocked - shocked - to discover that Turkey, a notional American ally, has done more to help Iran skirt sanctions than any other country. ...

Turkey's gold shipments to Iran are big enough to make a significant dent in the country's enormous current account deficit. At an annual rate of $17 billion, Turkish gold exports amount to 2.2% of Turkish gross domestic product. Without them, the nominal improvement in the country's bulging trade deficit (to "only" 7.5% of GDP as opposed to last year's 10%) would disappear. 
However that game has been shut down(thanks to Israel Matzav blog citing Reuters):

A provision of U.S. sanctions, made law last summer and implemented from February 6, effectively tightens control on sales of precious metals to Iran and prevents Halkbank from processing oil payments by other countries back to Tehran, bankers said.
"Halkbank can only accept payments for Turkish oil and gas purchases and Iran is only allowed to buy food, medicine and industrial products with that money," one senior Turkish banker told Reuters.
"The gas for gold trade is very difficult after the second round of sanctions. Iranians cannot just withdraw the cash and buy whatever they want. They have to prove what they are buying ... so gold exports will definitely fall," he said.
Trade in Turkish gold bars to Iran via Dubai was already drying up as banks and dealers declined to buy the bullion to avoid sanctions risks associated with the trade.

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