Paris is tremulous while there’s nothing new in Istanbul…

Security stopped me while I was about to go out on the street from my hotel in Paris. They asked me where I was going. As I was telling myself that I deserved a nice walk since I wrapped up the things I had to do early in the morning, I surely wasn’t thinking about the “gilets jaunes”. Telling me that it might not be safe to walk in the central streets of Paris, hotel’s security has started to give me some advices. That’s when my phone rang.

The person who was calling me was the reservationist of a restaurant nearby. “We are very sorry. This is the first time in a long time that we have the close the restaurant. You may come tomorrow if you wish”, he said. I figured that the gilet jaunes’ fifth weekend of demonstrations would be more violent than expected. As I started to walk towards the opposite direction, a miracle happened. It started to rain. Then I turned to the Frenchmen next to me and said, “You are lucky! You dodged today’s bullet!” They didn’t quite understand what I meant so I had to explain my joke.

Gatherers of Saturday’s demonstrations would mainly involve retirees. With the rain and bad weather, however, people’s enthusiasm for any protest has declined towards noon. I must also say that almost 80.000 French gendarmes and police officers were employed during the protests. Protesters, on the other hand, were only 5000 at first, and then became 8000 however it wasn’t enough to carry out a demonstration as one large single group. They had to separate and scatter different quartiers of Paris. Although some bad incidents happened during protests in other cities of France, on Saturday, everything became calm again in Paris before sunset.

As I was walking on the streets of Paris on Friday and Saturday, I realized that the windows of hotels and luxury stores were all broken and some of the art galleries were so damaged to the extent that I might call it “vandalism”.

Parisians were complaining about the protesters. A majority of them said, “We can understand that they are fighting for their rights but why do they damage the city?” But people were especially upset about the fact that these violent demonstrations are frightening the tourists as Christmas and the New Year are approaching.

“It’s normal to run budget surplus…”

The first two things I looked at as soon as I got back to Istanbul were Turkey’s unemployment rate in September and Turkey’s Industrial Production in October. Both of them signalled that we should expect shrinkage in the fourth quarter. It’s obvious that unemployment rate won’t fall back to 9.5% for a long time. It might even hit 13% again.

On the other hand, a sharp decline in October industrial production made everyone upset. Even though tax cuts implemented in November have brought certain impact on consumption-driven demand, there’s no sign for now indicating that these tax cuts have been helpful in boosting demand-driven manufacturing. There are millions of different comments about budget performance on a monthly and annual basis. Budget deficit has grown larger by 100 percent on an annual basis, however, Turkish economy has run budget surplus in November.

I think it’s quite normal for Turkey to run budget surplus considering that the temporary tax for July-August-September period was paid in November. During the next quarter, we should keep a close track of tax collection levels because of narrowing down businesses.