Turkey’s economists and researchers under censorship pressure- Bloomberg

After years of pressure under the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), finance companies are making it clear to their analysts and researchers that they don’t want any negative analysis on Turkey to be published, Bloomberg reported.

Turkey’s lira sank to a record 3.92 per dollar on Wednesday, amounting to 25 percent in losses for the year amid government measures to stimulate the economy, which had widened the current account deficit to more than 6 percent of GDP and raised concern for economic stability. The Turkish government was quick to announce that last week's slide in the lira was a result of external manipulations.

Meanwhile, the job of analysts has become a daunting task as they find themselves having to bite their tongues in their reports and analysis.

Bloomberg met with 10 economists and researchers in Turkey, all of whom express how difficult their job has become as of late.

Well-known financial analyst Mert Ülker lost his job with Ak Investment after he said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan knew ahead of time about the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.

What happened to Ülker has become a horror story that has been circulating in financial circles, Bloomberg said.

‘’Although it may appear as though the withdrawal of critical reports may be to the advantage of Turkey, investors who are noticing that the reality on the ground is very different are pulling out of markets,’’ paraAnaliz financial website said in its take on Bloomberg’s report.

The plunge of the Turkish lira over the past two months and the ineffectiveness of the central bank was not covered effectively by the world of finance as it should be, says Bloomberg, pointing to the inherent fear in the sector.

One analyst who spoke to Bloomberg on condition of anonymity, said, ‘’Whenever I attempt to write a negative report, my administrators and colleagues remind me of the case of Mert Ülker.’’

All ten of the analysts which spoke to Bloomberg asked for their names to be withheld. One analysts even expressed their fear despite speaking on condition of anonymity.

All financial analysts expressed that writing on Turkey’s economy is like walking a tight rope and one strategist for a private bank said that they are continually warned against using terms critical of Erdoğan.

Meanwhile, as Turkey inches closer to the June 24 parliamentary and presidential elections, the government crackdown on opposition has trickled down to the municipal level. An event planned by the leftist United June Movement (Birleşik Haziran Hareketi) in İstanbul’s Beşiktaş district on Saturday was banned by municipality, secular Cumhuriyet daily reported. The movement planned to promote its campaign to turn off pro-government television stations.

The mayor of  Beşiktaş representing the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Murat Hazinedar, was dismissed from office by a Ministry of Interior decision in January.