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Turkish Economy Feeling the Pinch
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin lead an April 8, 2019 meeting in Moscow aimed at drumming up trade between the two countries. (Alexei NikolskyTASS via Getty Images)

Turkish Economy Feeling the Pinch

There is evidence that Turkey is heading into a recession, based on a spike in unemployment and a steep drop in the value of the Turkish lira. December through February figures show unemployment at 14.7 percent, compared to 13.5% during the same period a year ago, and the highest rate in almost 10 years. The local currency is now worth only about 70% of its value against the US dollar, as compared to a year ago. All of this indicates that the Turkish economy shrank some three percentage points in the last quarter. The economy was a major concern to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as he campaigned for mayors and other municipal or regional officials in elections a little over two weeks ago. His AK Party maintained control of rural areas but lost both Istanbul and the capital Ankara, two places where high unemployment and a devalued currency have been most keenly felt. The AK Party has demanded recounts in both cities.

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