Speak softly and hold a stick…

The week kicked off calmly as stock markets closed going sideways or with a moderate fall. Euro/Dollar parity continued to keep its strength.

In Turkey, USD/TRY and benchmark rate maintain a rather calm and reasonable trend. As for the BIST, it certainly had its share of stock market fall.

Turkey agenda, however, focuses on the Afrin operation again. The highly-charged “I’m warning you! We are coming!” – “We are not going anywhere!” dialogue between Turkey and the United States was followed by an unexpected development: Syrian government said that pro-regime fighters will enter Syria’s Afrin.

As a matter of fact, there’s a big difference between combat operations in rural areas and combat operations in urban areas. For the very reason alone, some consider Pro-Syrian Government forces entering Afrin a smart move. However, Turkey said from the very beginning that this military operation had been launched to eliminate terrorist groups in the region and Turkey has every respect for Syria’s territorial integrity. The fact that Turkish fighters have always returned home after each and every cross-border operation proves it.

Besides, Turkish government has pointed out many times before that they would establish a 30/40km-deep safe buffer zone the Afrin district, and added that Turkey’s military operations will also target those who provide terrorist groups with weapons and help them approach Turkish borders.

“A magic touch… may appear anytime…”

It looks like, under the circumstances, the US-Israeli led project may collapse anytime due to Russian intervention. I mean the project aiming to establish a so-called safe zone between Iran and Israel. Each move would trigger retaliation.

In short, everyone wants to find out what will happen next. I think it would not be very appropriate to talk about markets too much under such circumstances. Let’s not forget that, exercising its legitimate rights, Turkey is fighting against terrorist groups under very difficult circumstances and this battle against terrorism is being carried out by Turkish armed forces as well as Turkey’s diplomatic efforts.

Speaking of Americans, there’s this old saying: “speak softly and carry a big stick” I expect a magic touch, from an unexpected party, to appear soon before things get worse as both sides are now speaking softly but also carrying a big stick with them. Throughout world history, there have been many factors that emerged unexpectedly to soothe tensions. We will just have to wait and see.

Prof. Dr. Emre Alkin