Interest rate drop by Turkish central bank; President Erdogan’s messages in the UN General Assembly; President Erdogan’s statements on the purchase of S-400 missile systems

Interest rate drop by Turkish central bank; President Erdogan’s messages in the UN General Assembly; President Erdogan’s statements on the purchase of S-400 missile systems

Last week, the public agenda in Turkey has been busy with three main topics.

First was the drop in the interest rates by the Turkish Central Bank, down to 18% from 19%.

Second was the messages delivered by the Turkish President Erdogan, in the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN).

Third were President Erdogan’s statements on the purchase of Russian-made S-400 air defense missile systems, made the interview to the American CBS News.

Interest rate drop by the Turkish central bank

Turkey’s central bank on Thursday lowered its one-week repo rate (also known as the policy rate) by 100 basis points to 18%.

The Monetary Policy Committee at its ninth meeting this year evaluated core inflation and supply shocks, which can be affected by monetary policy and decided to revise the bank’s monetary policy stance.

“Accordingly it is judged that a revision in monetary policy stance is needed and the policy rate was decided to be reduced,” the bank announced.

It has kept the policy rate steady for the previous five meetings since incumbent governor Sahap Kavcioglu was appointed.

Addressing the normalization in demand composition globally, the bank said the increasing global inflation would be mostly temporary.

“Accordingly, central banks in advanced economies continue their supportive monetary stances and asset purchase programs.”

The current tight monetary policy and strong external demand affected the current account balance positively, the bank said, adding: “The current account is expected to post a surplus in the rest of the year due to the strong upward trend in exports, and the strong progress in the vaccination program stimulating tourism activities.”

The bank’s policy committee said a rate cut was “needed” because of the lower core price measures (which strip out food and some other goods) as well as shocks to supply in the wake of pandemic measures.

The recent rises in inflation “are due to transitory factors,” the central bank said in a statement accompanying the rate decision and removed a pledge to keep its benchmark rate above inflation and maintain the tight monetary policy.

Only two of 17 economists polled by Reuters had predicted a cut. All but one of the 23 economists surveyed by Bloomberg predicted the policy rate would be held steady.

The government expects inflation to fall to 16.2% by the end of the year and hit 9.8% by the end of 2022, according to the latest forecasts.

Addressing the normalization in demand composition globally, the bank said the increasing global inflation would be mostly temporary.

According to an Anadolu Agency survey last week, 18 economists expected no change in the one-week repo rate while two economists’ forecast was a decline of 100 basis points.

At the beginning of this year, the policy rate was 17%, and in March the bank raised the rate to 19%.

Turkey’s annual inflation rate stood at 19.25% in July, according to the latest data by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat).

President Erdogan’s messages in the UN General Assembly

In his address to 76th UN General Assembly in New York, USA, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has touched various global issues from Syria and Afghanistan, to climate change and the global COVID-19 pandemic.

About the crisis in Syria, Erdogan said “The international community cannot let the Syrian crisis drag on for another 10 years. We need to show a stronger will to find a political solution to the problem, based on United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254, and in a way that will meet the expectations of the Syrian people”.

The longstanding crisis has caused the death of hundreds of thousands of people and the displacement of millions others since 2011, he said.

“As a result of our efforts, and at the expense of martyrs, we were able to ensure the voluntary return of 462,000 Syrians to the areas we provided safety for. In a similar way, thanks to our presence in Idlib, we saved the lives of millions of people and prevented them from being displaced,” he added, alluding to a deal for a de-escalation zone reached with Russia.

Turning to the terror threat in areas of Syria near Turkey, Erdogan said: “I would like to reiterate before you that making any distinction between terrorist organizations in the region and using them as subcontractors is unacceptable.”

In his remarks, Erdogan said Turkey is also hosting over one million migrants under various statuses.

“Due to developments in Afghanistan, in recent days we have also faced the possibility of an inflow of migrants from this country. Turkey has neither the means nor the patience to meet new immigration waves”, said Erdogan, adding that Turkey “saved the dignity of humankind in the Syria crisis.”

Erdogan also addressed the issue of vaccine nationalism by saying “At a time when millions of people have lost their lives and tens of millions of people are suffering in the grip of the virus, it is a disgrace for humanity that vaccine nationalism is still being carried on through different methods.”

“Especially the underdeveloped countries and poor segments of society were literally abandoned to their fate in the face of the pandemic. It is not possible for any country to survive safely on its own before all countries are free from this pandemic. We hope that the will which shall be displayed at the General Assembly will constitute a turning point in understanding this truth,” he added.

The Turkish president also said that Turkey dispatched medical aid to 159 countries and 12 international organizations during the pandemic and announced that Ankara will distribute it to other countries.

“I would like to inform that we will offer in the near future our national vaccine, Turkovac, to the benefit of all humanity”, he said.

On the issue of climate change, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey is planning to submit the Paris climate pact to parliament for approval next month.

He said that “Turkey is not indifferent to any global problem, crisis, or call, and will also do its part on climate change and protecting the environment,” while adding that the ratification phase of the agreement will be completed before the UN Climate Change Conference, to be held in November in Glasgow, Scotland.

“We consider this process, which will lead to radical changes in our investment, production, and employment policies, as one of the main elements of our 2053 vision,” he added.

The Turkish leader underlined that the world should put its focus on climate change because, beyond being an environmental issue, this problem could lead to irreversible consequences for the earth.

“It is possible to prevent the coronavirus with vaccines, but there is no laboratory solution for climate change. For this reason, also for climate change, we repeat our call that the ‘World is Bigger than Five,’ a position we express at every opportunity,” said Erdogan, referring to his campaign to expand the UN Security Council beyond its five permanent members to make it more inclusive.

“Whoever has done the biggest damage to nature, to our atmosphere, our water, our soil and the earth, and whoever has wildly exploited natural resources, should also make the greatest contribution to the fight against climate change,” he added.

“Unlike in the past, this time no one has the right to say ‘I’m powerful, I won’t pay the bill. Because climate change treats mankind quite fairly.” Erdogan added.

Turkey’s president will also hold a bilateral meeting with his US counterpart as part of the upcoming G20 Leaders’ Summit in Italy.

Speaking to the press before his return from New York, where he had gone to attend the 76th UN General Assembly session, Erdogan said he had worked well with former US presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, lamenting that relations did not start off well with Biden.

The United States is currently supporting terrorist organizations much more than expected, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, while adding that the two NATO allies should be in a very different position.

“We have not experienced such a situation with previous US leaders. Let alone fighting terrorist organizations, the US gives them loads of equipment,” Erdogan said while answering reporters’ questions following Friday prayers in Istanbul.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli said in a written statement that Turkey and the United States fell apart in bilateral dialogue, their ties have come to a point of “tension” and “The Biden administration is responsible for this stalemate”, elaborating on a recent visit of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the US.

“Although Turkey meticulously abides by the ethic of alliance and the mindset of strategic partnership, the attitude and stance of the US are clustered around an arrogant understanding that always creates problems, produces crises, and relies on oppression and blackmail. Turkey is not the 51st state of the US, it is not a colony, and it will not even be possible to see Turkey as a satellite state whose will has been stolen,” Bahceli stated.

Meanwhile, President Erdogan attended the opening ceremony of the new Turkevi Center (or Turkish House), a 36-story skyscraper in Manhattan across the UN headquarters, alongside with the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey’s Ambassador to UN Feridun Sinirlioglu and Volkan Bozkir, and the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Erdogan and Guterres discussed developments in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan as well as Cyprus issue, according to a UN statement.

The UN chief said it was an “enormous pleasure” to attend inauguration of new Turkevi Center which houses the UN permanent mission of Turkey, the Turkish Consulate General as well as the representation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

The building and land lot costs have been a point of critic, mainly among the opposition circles.

President Erdogan’s statements on the purchase of S-400 missile systems

On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has commented on the recent developments in Afghanistan and on the current Turkish-American, as he attended the 76th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), in his interview with the American CBS News.

President Erdogan has answered questions on the program called “Face the Nation” and the host Margaret Brennan.

On the question of “You are part of NATO, as is the United States. The Russian government says that Turkey plans to continue buying their missile defense systems, the S400s. Why do you continue to go through with this? Did President Biden ask you to stop?” Erdogan answered:

“I explained everything to President Biden and through you, I would like to once again state the following: We were acquiring F-35 aircrafts and we have paid $1.4 billion. But the $1.4 billion of payments, which were made in return for the F-35s, led us to such a situation that we never got the F-35s and we requested to acquire Patriots, but we were never given Patriots. And when we were talking to President Trump about these issues way back when he said the following: ‘Well, Turkey has paid $1.4 billion for 35s and why are we not giving them F-35s?’ And he said this right in front of the entire world press. And why are the five aircrafts still not being delivered, even though we have paid the price.”

And on the American reaction against the purchase of the S-400 systems, Erdogan commented:

“Well, nobody can interfere with that. You are not going to give me Patriots.  And in terms of the possible air defense systems that we will acquire from another country, nobody can interfere in that. Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of the NATO, came up with the best statement in this regard. And he said, quote, ‘We cannot do anything about what our partners purchase or where our partners are going to buy their defense systems, we can never interfere with that’. That was what he said. This is the NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg who said that. Well, sorry, then. This is what I’m going to say in return: who is going to share our security risks here? How are we going to take the necessary measures for security risks? Are we going to keep on expecting delivery of weapons from other countries that didn’t deliver us those weapons?”

While emphasizing that the Air Force alone could not be sufficient, Erdogan stated “Defense systems are one thing, Air Force is another thing. Because right now, in terms of the Air Force, maybe the United States, will not maintain the F-16 program. I do not have a guarantee that the Americans will continue with the F-16 maintenance. If that will be interrupted, then we will be forced to take other measures.”

President Erdogan added “In the future, nobody will be able to interfere in terms of what kind of defense systems we acquire, from which country at what level. Nobody can interfere with that. We are the only ones to make such decisions. We are a country with 84 million inhabitants, and we are very resolute in terms of our defense systems and the necessary measures to be taken, and nobody can interfere with that.”

Finally when the host asked “That sounds like a yes?”, Erdogan replied “Of course, yes”.

United World International

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June 2024