Skip to main content

Trump and Erdogan talking Kayhan Ozer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

A Tragedy for Turkey and the US

After years of unsustainable growth driven by loose fiscal and monetary policies and foreign borrowing, Turkey is finally facing an economic reckoning. But with the Trump administration doubling tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum, the prospects for reform have shrunk substantially.

WASHINGTON, DC – Among the many casualties of US President Donald Trump’s trade-policy misadventures, Turkey may be the saddest case to date. Until a few years ago, Turkey was an economic and geopolitical success story – one in which the United States could proudly claim to have played a key role. Though there were occasional bilateral disputes, Turkey remained a reliable ally for many decades.

But all that began to change in recent years. This summer, the Turkish economy started imploding under the weight of overly loose monetary and fiscal policies. Then, the US responded to the Turkish government’s failure to release an imprisoned American pastor by “punishing” the country with trade barriers and targeted sanctions. Trump announced that he was doubling US import tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel, to 20% and 50%, respectively.

Turkey’s currency crisis could have been a wakeup call for the Turkish government to reverse its unsustainable economic policies. But owing to the Trump administration’s actions, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan can instead pin the problem on the “bullets, cannonballs, and missiles of the economic war being waged against our country.”

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.


Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.;
  1. bildt69_DELIL SOULEIMANAFP via Getty Images_syriansoldiermissilegun Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images

    Time to Bite the Bullet in Syria

    Carl Bildt

    US President Donald Trump's impulsive decision to pull American troops out of northern Syria and allow Turkey to launch a military campaign against the Kurds there has proved utterly disastrous. But a crisis was already inevitable, given the realities on the ground and the absence of a coherent US or Western policy in Syria.


Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions