Turkey covering up economic failure with war – columnist

The Turkish government is using its military activities in Syria and Libya to deflect criticism of its management of the country’s economy, said columnist İhsan Çaralan for Evrensel news.

But these excuses are hollow and simply retread rhetoric used by many governments to benefit themselves at the public’s expense, Çaralan said.

Though Turkey is not formally at war, it has deployed forces to support the United Nations-recognised Tripoli government in Libya and to halt the advance of Syrian government forces in the rebel-held province of Idlib in northwest Syria, losing troops in both countries.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has described Turkey as being in a state of war, a comment echoed by Rıza Posacı, a lawmaker for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), when he faced criticism from farmers during work on a parliamentary agricultural commission.

The farmers who attended the commission described how the rising prices of fuel, seeds, pesticides and fertilisers had left them making a loss that was being exacerbated by high interest rates on loans and the non-appearance of subsidies promised by the government.

“I don’t see anything that warrants such exaggeration,” said Posacı. “There’s war in our country, everything is up in the air. I’m asking for your help. Please be patient.”

This, said Çaralan, is nothing more than the government loading the burden of wars it has become involved with for its own benefit onto a public which had no say in the decision to deploy troops.

“Asking for patience is the same as telling the farmers that they are paying more taxes and losing out on the promised government subsidies because of the war,” said the journalist.

Throughout history, ruling elites have employed the same trick to enrich themselves through wars while making the public pay the financial and human cost, he said.