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The PM and the AKP continue to blame everything from disinformation, to marginal groups, to vandals, to terrorists, to foreign organizers for the protests. And stock market speculators (a subset of the foreign organizers) were added to the list today.

Following reactions to his statements last week the PM is now saying that he is really the PM of all the citizens, not just of his supporters. He is also trying to convince people that he is a strong environmentalist.

These statements are often being delivered in a condescending tone which is seen by many as just another manifestation of an authoritarian mindset.

PM Erdoğan has also, in an effort to downplay the excessive force used by Turkish police in the protests, today said that 17 people were killed by the police in the US during OWS protests.

This was met by an immediate response from the US Embassy in Ankara that no one was killed by police action during OWS protests.

The PM and other government officials seem to be trying hard today to impress foreign countries with how democratic and western they are. Statements directed to the EU and the US are fairly conciliatory, while those directed to the people of Turkey are confrontational. They must think that the US and EU don't follow their other speeches and public statements.

From what I have been able to observe the efforts are not being very successful and the Turkish officials are surprised and seem to be unable to understand why.

Of the seven foreigners whose arrests have been played up by the PM and government officials over the past few days, five have been released - four of them to the immigration police. Of these four, the two Greek citizens returned to Greece and the two French citizens (students as far as I can find out) are awaiting a decision as to whether or not they will be deported. It seems that a US citizen and a German citizen are still in custody.

The protests are continuing peacefully with minimal police action.

It seems to me that people are waiting for the expected rhetoric to die down and even more importantly for the almost inevitable heavy handed decisions and actions of the government to return.

There are reports that government officials have decided to wait until Monday before any efforts to dislodge the protesters are made.

- * - * - * - * - * - * - * -

Development Won’t Ensure Democracy in Turkey - an intersting opinion piece in the New York Times today.

Fitch today announced that it would not alter its rating of Turkey for the time being.

Current Level of Protest in Turkey Not a Rating Threat

Fitch Ratings-London-07 June 2013: The anti-government protests in Turkey are not a threat to the sovereign's 'BBB-' rating at present, Fitch Ratings says. The level of unrest is well within the tolerance of political stability embedded in the current rating, and the economic impact so far is minor.

Low political stability and, in particular, low World Bank voice accountability indicators (the latter falling well short of the 'BBB' median) have long been a feature of Turkey's sovereign credit profile and are already considered weaknesses in our sovereign rating assessment.

With this in mind, it is perhaps not surprising that the protests, in response to the perceived authoritarian tendencies of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP), have emerged ahead of a heavy election schedule. There are local and presidential elections in 2014 and a general election in 2015, and Turkey's traditional secular opposition has struggled to make itself heard.


Nonetheless, much will depend on how the authorities respond to the protests. Poorly handled, the situation could escalate, with adverse consequences for the economy. Persistent political and social unrest could deter tourism, destabilise short-term capital inflows, drive up inflation and damage economic growth. Longer-term aspirations to attract more FDI could also suffer a setback. If such developments were to occur and have a material adverse effect on the economy, the unrest could exert pressure on the sovereign rating.

The low political stability and voice accountability indicators mentioned above can be seen here:

The World Bank's Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) are:

1. Voice and Accountability (VA) – capturing perceptions of the extent to which a country's citizens are able to participate in selecting their government, as well as freedom of expression, freedom of association, and a free media.

2.  Political Stability and Absence of Violence (PV) – capturing perceptions of the likelihood that the government will be destabilized or overthrown by unconstitutional or violent means, including politically-motivated violence and terrorism.

3.  Government Effectiveness (GE) – capturing perceptions of the quality of public services, the quality of the civil service and the degree of its independence from political pressures, the quality of policy formulation and implementation, and the credibility of the government's commitment to such policies.

4.  Regulatory Quality (RQ) – capturing perceptions of the ability of the government to formulate and implement sound policies and regulations that permit and promote private sector development.

5.  Rule of Law (RL) – capturing perceptions of the extent to which agents have confidence in and abide by the rules of society, and in particular the quality of contract enforcement, property rights, the police, and the courts, as well as the likelihood of crime and violence.

6.  Control of Corruption (CC) – capturing perceptions of the extent to which public power is exercised for private gain, including both petty and grand forms of corruption, as well as "capture" of the state by elites and private interests.

Originally posted to InAntalya on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 11:05 AM PDT.

Also republished by More and Better Democracies.

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