I posted a quote from the late President Süleyman Demirel on social media exactly one year ago from today. “If you don’t call the problems as “problems” they will no longer be problems…”
When the vastly experienced politician said these words, he didn’t obviously mean “turn the blind eye”. This quote can hold different meanings when spoken out loudly in different tones of voices. My guess is that he meant we should not ignore problems, but we ought to accept that they are “real”. You would take the first step towards the solution when you accept that a certain problem exists. As Süleyman Demirel said, if you have no concerns, if you think there’s nothing wrong, then you don’t have to talk about it.
But, Turkey is facing serious issues. The fact that Turkish Banks are selling a lot of dollars, especially in Far Eastern markets, to calm the exchange rates down has already hit the world news headlines. And now that a statement about CBRT’s intent to sell reserve funds to the public is released, people seem to be quite nervous.
Although USD/TRY got yesterday morning off to a calm start, it would slowly go up later in the day. I don’t think the reason for this rise is purely economic. Our biggest problems is that decision-making mechanisms aren’t properly working. Ankara gives the impression that it is trying to come up with a solution in a constant state of panic.
“Don’t say anything negative ?!…”
That was the main topic at an iftar dinner I joined last Wednesday. A group of invitees including business people, academics and journalists came to a mutual understanding that the first step to solve a problem is to accept it. While some of the guests expressed that they were quite confused about the ever-changing regulations, the others said that they were having difficulties explaining the recent developments to their international partners.
These were the common concerns people expressed in all of the meeting I attended throughout the last week. Everyone agrees that no one from the government has consulted with the business people, except a certain group, when drawing up the regulations governing trade, exports and business world in general.
The solution is simple actually: Ankara should create a new agenda that will embrace Turkish business world as a whole, while listening to what everyone has to say, one by one. We also need to eliminate this “Don’t you say anything negative!” approach which is designed to warn to those who are waiting for their next appointment with a government official. Trying to hide or cover our problems won’t do any good at all.