Just as Turkey’s political triumph seemed to have reached its peak, Erdogan’s true weakness has suddenly been revealed, according to the newspaper. Its major source of income – tourism – now is in serious decline. Even though the industry accounts just for six percent of Turkey's gross domestic product it employs about seven percent of the country's working population.
“The rising terrorist threat and Erdogan’s political adventurism have resulted in a consistent drop in the number of foreign tourists coming to the country,” the German daily newspaper wrote.
In March, tourist numbers were down by almost 13 percent compared to the same period last year. It was the eighth consecutive month of the decline and the biggest slump in nearly a decade.
The fact that Turkish tourism is in a slump was underscored by the country’s flagship air carrier, Turkish Airlines, which has reported the biggest quarterly losses since 1999.
Following the downing of Russia’s Su-24 bomber jet over Syria in late November, Moscow immediately imposed sanctions against Turkey, issuing a travel warning and banning package tours to the republic.
Frequent terrorist attacks in Turkey, and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) clashing with the Erdogan regime, responsible for attacking Kurdish communities in both southeast Turkey and neighboring Syria have all played a serious part in the sharp decline in tourism.
Investors have also started withdrawing from the country after the surprise resignation of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, sending the lira down by a hefty 5.5 percent to the US dollar and by 5 percent to the euro.
With hard currency reserves quickly running out, President Erdogan has been left with little, if any, room for financial maneuver.
“All this means that Erdogan will hardly be able to keep his political roadshow going and keep making fun of other countries and investors,” Die Welt wrote in conclusion.