Turkish government appeases protesters

Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc has looked to appease protesters in Istanbul after the BIST 100 dropped by 6.67% in morning trading and the Turkish lira slid to a 16-month low against the US dollar.

Protests are entering their fifth day of action after one of Turkey's biggest trade unions started a two day strike in support of the anti-government protesters. Activists say the ruling party AKP is becoming increasingly authoritarian and blame the government for meddling with other countries politics and attracting terrorism to the country. Constrictive policies and plans over the decision for the pedestrianisation of Taksim Square - the so-called Gezi Park Project - was the main spark behind the widespread protests.

Mr Arinc apologised for a police crackdown on a peaceful protest that triggered five days of rioting across the country. He told a news conference in the Turkish capital of Ankara: “The excessive violence that was used in the first instance against those who were behaving with respect for the environment is wrong and unfair. I apologise to those citizens.”

He also committed to meeting some of the organisers of the original protests at Gezi Park and insisted that the riots do not amount to a “Turkish Spring”, in reference to the political turmoil that spread across the Middle Eastern belt last year.

Early impact

The strike by the Confederation of Public Workers' Unions (KESK) is likely to affect schools, universities and public offices throughout the country. In the financial markets, shares fell by 6.67% in the main index in Istanbul, while the Turkish lira fell against the US dollar. There was also a selloff in Turkish government debt, driving up the yield (or interest rates) on its bonds.

TMF Group

We have a dedicated team stationed in Istanbul who keep abreast of the local market climate. If you have concerns about what the unrest means for your business, talk to us.

 
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