Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin lead an April 8 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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