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Analysis: President Erdogan’s rate cuts are high-risk gamble ahead of 2023 elections

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is putting his political life on the line with a risky wager that driving down interest rates will reverse his skidding opinion polls, despite what is already a heavy economic toll on voters.
The country’s leader of nearly two decades is ploughing on with a “new economic model” he says will boost jobs, growth, exports and cheap credit – and ignoring for now a resulting historic drop in the lira, as well as soaring inflation.

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The policy shift could signal a last-ditch attempt by Erdogan and his ruling AK Party (AKP) to shore up his socially conservative, working and lower middle class voter base ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections in 2023, analysts said.

But surging prices and currency devaluations are already wreaking havoc on Turks’ household budgets and future plans.

In Istanbul’s working class Kasimpasa district, an AKP bastion where Erdogan, a pious Muslim, studied the Koran and played soccer as a boy, few can ignore the rocketing cost of living – and some said it could sway their votes.

“People who come by my teahouse are complaining a lot about prices. The economic struggle is on everyone’s agenda,” said Abdurrahman Erenli, serving tea to a handful of customers across the road from a mosque where Erdogan used to pray.

“People are changing their views due to the situation in the economy. I think votes for the AKP will come down in the next election, for sure, though they still have very solid support.”

It is a far cry from the early years of AKP rule when its pursuit of free market policies and orthodox monetary policy helped to rebuild Turkey’s economy after a deep crisis in 2001.


Under pressure from Erdogan, Turkey’s central bank has slashed its policy rate by 400 basis points to 15 percent since September. It will likely cut again this month, despite inflation that is near 20 percent and is expected to approach 30 percent.

The fallout has been dramatic.

The lira shed some 30 percent in November alone, its second-worst month ever, reflecting Turkey’s deeply negative real rates as well as its high foreign debt and heavy reliance on imports.

Turks are now struggling to find some medicines and buy some other imports such as mobile phones. Opposition leaders are demanding snap elections.

“This country cannot be abandoned to this ignorance anymore,” said IYI Party leader Meral Aksener.

Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted AKP and its nationalist allies MHP are now at level-pegging with an opposition alliance, each with about 39 percent support, according to a MAK Danismanlik poll published on Saturday.

A Metropoll survey showed Erdogan’s job approval has hit a six-year low. Polls also show he would lose to likely presidential candidates including Aksener and Istanbul’s mayor, Ekrem Imamoglu of the main opposition CHP.

“It is clear the ruling alliance is losing support. The steps in the economy need to yield results, otherwise there may be vote losses,” said a senior government official who requested anonymity.

Digging in

A senior AKP official said the new measures would yield benefits by the time of the election.

“Of course we have entered a difficult period (but) what is needed now is time,” the official said.

Reuters has reported, citing sources, that Erdogan ignored appeals in recent weeks, even from within his government, to reverse what he has called Turkey’s “economic war of independence.”

Erdogan has defended the rate cuts six times in the last two weeks and said there is “no turning back,” with almost every speech driving the currency to new record lows.

The lira touched 14 to the dollar on Tuesday, down from 6.9 in February before Erdogan sacked the previous central bank governor and began aggressively pushing his easy-money views.

The depreciations stoke import prices and broader inflation expectations in a country where food prices are up nearly 30 percent from last year.

“The most acute issue is high inflation,” said Can Selcuki, general manager of Istanbul Economics Research, a consultancy.

“I expect the elector sentiment regarding both the government and Erdogan to sour further.”

Read more:

Recent depreciation in Turkey’s lira is adding to inflation pressure: Fitch

Turkey’s Erdogan stays firm on interest rates, lira weakens four percent

Protests in Istanbul, Ankara calling on Erdogan’s govt. to resign after lira crash

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Almarai signs an MoU with the Authority of People with Disabilities to train and employ them.

Almarai Company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Authority of People with
Disabilities to train, qualify and employ persons with disabilities. This came on the sidelines of
the First International Labor Market Conference, organized by the Ministry of Human Resources
and Social Development on December 13 – 14, 2023, at the King Abdulaziz Convention Center
in Riyadh.

The memorandum was signed by the Chief Human Resources Officer of Almarai Company,
Fahad Mohammed Aldrees, and the CEO of the Authority of People with Disabilities, Dr.
Hisham bin Muhammad Al-Haidari.

“This agreement comes within the framework of the company’s social responsibility program, as
Almarai employs more than 500 people with disabilities, which is one of the most suitable work
environments for them.” Fahad Aldrees said. Pointing out that Almarai has the “Silent Line”,
which is one of its production lines that is designated for people with hearing disabilities.

It is worth mentioning that Almarai supports over 300 charity organizations annually across the
kingdom that operate in the field of community development.

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Central Phuket Shopping Center Prepared Surprises This Christmas & New Year 2024

Central Phuket Shopping Center, the luxury lifestyle landmark o Phuket, invites everyone to celebrate Christmas and New Year 2024 in The Great Celebration 2024 Campaign. Joining hands with global partner ‘The Pokémon Company’, Central Phuket bring over Pokémon, the super cute character popular around the world, for all locals and international fans. The special campaign launch presents a procession of cute ‘Pikachu’ alongside with the giant Christmas tree for the first time in Thailand.
This December, Central Phuket prepared many activities for shoppers when visiting Phuket! Experience the “Surprise of the Day” with free Cotton Candy for our little ones, a sweet and fluffy treat, a special gift from Central Phuket. Bring your kids to enjoy this sweet treat every Saturday and Sunday throughout the month of December. Don’t miss the Christmas Carol that
everyone loves, little Santas spread freshness by singing together in the Christmas Carol activity. Plus, Christmas Live Music, the festival of joy is back! Celebrate Christmas in a luxurious and classy atmosphere, enjoying the music that will bring us joy. Also, there will be Christmas Troop, Santa Claus is coming to town! The Santa troop will spread happiness throughout Central Phuket. Lastly, Cake Workshop, workshop activity with Chef Sebastien’s IRON CHEF Thailand teaching how to make Christmas Vanilla Cake. A special activity for the Christmas season. Moreover, Central Phuket provides special promotion exclusively for international tourists throughout December 23 – January 24 including:

1) Get Free! Tourist welcome discount package valued up to THB 10,000.
2) Receive THB 100 Gift voucher when spending up to THB 2,500 per receipt.
3) Get to buy ‘Happy Holiday Collections’ special price: Pokémon 2-in-1 pillow blanket, tumbler, travel bag set, and keychain. Visit redemption counter for the price.
4) Exclusive for Grab Users get discount code up to 25% off* when traveling to participating Central Shopping Centers.
5) Receive famous Elephant Pants when spending over THB 5,000 in shopping center.
6) Get Free! H&M THB 100 gift voucher when booking any accommodations in Phuket with Agoda. Terms and conditions apply.

Central Phuket is a home of global luxury brands such as Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Ermenegildo Zegna, Gucci, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, and Saint Laurent. Exclusive for this season, Louis Vuitton launches a pop-up store located at Central Phuket. The design is inspired by the story of Damier or Checkerboard, the brand’s signature pattern. This classic pattern was created by Louis
Vuitton and his son Georges Vuitton in 1888 and has always been part of the design of Maison’s iconic items and concepts. Find clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories for men at the Pop-up Store from Louis Vuitton at Central Phuket, 1st floor, from today until 31 March 2024. And with over 500 renowned fashion brands and lifestyle shops ranging from local to international
well-known brands covering all categories, international shoppers will be able to find what they are looking for in Central Phuket.
Central Phuket is located in the heart of one of the world’s most famous beach cities, Phuket and await to welcome both locals and international visitors this holiday. Also, don’t miss one of the most joyful New Year Count Down events in Phuket city at Central Phuket Shopping Center on December 31, 2023.

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Saudi Fund for Development Provides $100 Million Development Loan for the Rogun Hydropower Project

The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) Chief Executive Officer, H.E. Sultan Al-Marshad, signed a new development loan agreement with the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Kahhorzoda Fayziddin Sattor, through which SFD is contributing $100 million USD to fund the Rogun Hydropower Project, a landmark initiative that will enhance energy,
food, and water security, and foster sustainable development in the country. The signing was attended by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Waleed Al-Reshiadan, and the Ambassador of Tajikistan to Saudi Arabia, H.E. Akram Karimi, alongside other officials from both sides. SFD’s development loan will help contribute towards a more sustainable and equitable food and water future for Tajikistan, while driving the country’s energy transition and climate resilience. The project aims to contribute to the national energy security and will help advance sustainable
development in the Republic of Tajikistan, by providing the renewable electricity supply to meet local demand and expand electricity production domestically and regionally, producing 3600 MW of energy. The loan agreement will also finance the construction of a 335-meter-tall dam, which will enhance irrigation capabilities and bolster agricultural activities across the country. Additionally, the project will improve flood protection through the construction of four hydraulic
tunnels for diversion and drainage. It will also provide clean and drinkable water to people through desalination, and help advance socio-economic development, by creating both direct and indirect jobs.
Importantly, this project also supports the realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); specifically, SDG 2, Zero Hunger, SDG 6, Clean Water and Sanitation, and SDG 7, Affordable and Clean Energy.
On this occasion, the CEO of SFD, H.E. Sultan Al-Marshad, said: “Today’s signing marks a major milestone in our shared journey towards a more sustainable future. With this landmark development loan, SFD is not just supporting Tajikistan’s energy future, but also its sustainable development and the well-being of its people. The Rogun Hydropower Project is a beacon of
hope for a bright future that is powered by clean, renewable energy. It will propel Tajikistan towards environmental stewardship and prosperity.”

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