08:04 GMT26 February 2021
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    Turkey has secured $15 billion in investment from Qatar in a bid to bolster its economy. The news comes as Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan met with Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani amid currency woes. Sputnik discussed the matter with Ilhan Tanir, a political analyst and journalist based in Turkey.

    Sputnik: Qatar has promised to help Turkey through its current economic woes with $15 billion in investment. Is it enough?

    Ilhan Tanir: $15 billion aid is definitely not enough for Turkey's economy's problems but in a difficult time like this, the Qatar Emir's visit to Turkey and promise to invest that kind of money in Turkey definitely provided a lifeline, gave confidence.

    READ MORE: Currency Crisis: Why Turkish Lira's Slump May Backfire on Euro

    Sputnik: Of course, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blamed the US for problems with the economy while many economists would say that Turkey has a long-standing problem due to foreign debt, what are your thoughts on that?

    Ilhan Tanir: The economic problems began a few years ago, Turkey's economy's problems by no means were started by Mr. Trump‘s tweet or US tariffs, but its problems started with an unbalanced economy, its spending, especially on mega projects or, as Mr. Erdogan calls them, crazy projects which are guaranteed by the Turkish government, Turkish state and done by private companies, all of them very close to Mr. Erdogan. So this has been going on for a number of years, many economists have been warning that Turkey's economy is overheating, Turkey's inflation is now over 15%.

    Sputnik: Turkey has said that it will continue to talk if those talks with the US could actually be productive or positive, what are your thoughts about tensions; are they going to continue to arise or is there a chance we'll see a waning of tension between Ankara and Washington?

    Ilhan Tanir: Everybody is asking this question. We have two unpredictable leaders, especially Mr. Trump. Who knows what he’s going to tweet ten minutes later? He tweeted last week during the Finance Minister's very important presentation and he said the US is going to [introduce] more tariffs on Turkish goods. And before, as we all know, the US targeted two high profile Turkish ministers who are also very close to Mr. Erdogan, the Interior Minister and the Justice Minister are now banned from the US. Also according to US laws, any US citizen doing business with these two men will also be sanctioned, so it’s very predictable, but far as we can see right now, these two leaders are fighting each other, and just on Tuesday US Vice President Mike Pence gave new signals that the US President is going to put more sanctions on Turkey. At the same time, Mr. Erdogan is trying to find new allies or trying to repair some of the European allies.

    Mr. Erdogan [on Tuesday, 14 Aug] just released two Greek soldiers and today [Thursday] spoke with Mr. Macron from France and Germany has been giving statements in support of the Turkish government. So in a way, while Mr. Erdogan is fighting with Mr. Trump, he is getting close to the European Union once more in a way to create a new friendship, but against the US. We will see how this is going to work, whether it’s going to be effective. When it comes to US-Turkish relations, for now we do not see any light at the end of the tunnel, that these current tensions are going to end.

    It looks like Mr. Trump is going to escalate and Mr. Erdogan is not known as a person who backs down, but actually he sometimes does, as we all remember in 2015, when Turkey downed the Russian jet on November 24th; about 6-7 months later Mr. Erdogan apologized. So for now we don’t see such a scenario in Turkish-US relations but if the measures that the Turkish government has taken in the last couple of days are not enough and if Turkey's economy is getting into more trouble, then I don’t know how long Mr. Erdogan can go on with this stance and fight with Mr. Trump. We will see.

    READ MORE: Turkey's Worsening Economy May Provoke New Flow of Refugees to EU — Journalist

    Sputnik: Some have said that this is driving Turkey closer to Moscow, to Russia, what are your thoughts on that?

    Ilhan Tanir: Yes, definitely. Mr. Erdogan, as I've just mentioned, in 2016 apologized and since the coup attempt in July 2016 these two leaders, Putin and Erdogan, they've been getting along pretty well. If Turkey's relations with the US get even worse than the current situation, Russia definitely is one place that Erdogan thinks he can improve relations. But at the same time, Turkey is a country which has been trying to become more Westernized for the last 200 years. EU aspirations, trying to be a member of the EU… also is part of this 200 year adventure.

    The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect Sputnik's position.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    sanctions, economy, lira, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Donald Trump, Qatar, US, Turkey
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