Lukashenko says he may quit as president
Belarus hits EU with tit-for-tat sanctions
Belarusian police introduce colour-coded torture system for detained protesters
Kremlin publicly condemns Belarusian police brutality in hint of growing frustration with Lukashenko
Russian services PMI rises to 48.2, but remains underwater as recovery continues to slow
Russia to start mass vaccinations on December 7
Azerbaijan’s Aliyev calls on Armenia, Russia, Turkey and Iran to assist in creating Nakhchivan land corridor
FPRI BMB Russia: Sberbank releases a three-year transformation strategy to e-commerce concern
Ukraine’s banking sector continues recovery, but profits still lagging last year
Ukraine’s real wages up over 10% in October but have been stagnant in dollar terms for almost a year
FPRI BMB Ukraine: Public has confused opinions on resolving the Donbas conflict
Western Balkans plus Ukraine subsidised coal with over €900mn in 2018-2019
Estonian parcel robot firm Cleveron eyes €30mn state loan
Estonia’s chief auditor says €1bn in state COVID-19 loans issued haphazardly
Economic sentiment in CEE falls in November as recovery momentum splutters
Estonian animation studio Imepilt to hold IPO
Brighter days ahead: The economic bounce back in 2021
Central, Southeast Europe stock markets jump in anticipation of COVID-free future
VISEGRAD BLOG: An easing of trade tensions but still an uncertain situation for export-oriented Central Europe
Hungary's PM risks isolation as Poland mulls dropping EU budget veto
Poland ready to back down from veto of EU budget
Hungary's ruling party in damage control mode after MEP sex scandal bombshell
Poland’s PMI remains stuck just above the improvement line at 50.8 in November
Czech companies dominate this year’s Deloitte Technology Fast 50 CE
Coronacrisis to get worse before it gets better forecasts wiiw
EU diplomats say no chance of Bulgaria removing veto for Skopje to start EU accession talks
IMF says downside risks to Albanian economy are increasing
EU ministers fail to agree on launch of accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia
Western Balkans commit to green agenda and regional common market at Sofia summit
Bosnia’s opposition ousts nationalist parties in major cities
Bosnia’s main ethnic parties fight to hold onto power in local elections
Southeast Europe’s EU members to get biggest boost from next budget and recovery funds
Bulgaria imposes 3-week lockdown to slow down COVID-19 spread
CEE politicians highlight trade and security ties as they congratulate Biden
Breakaway Transnistria fully under Sheriff’s control as Obnovlenie party sweeps board in parliament election
Moldova’s presidential election is over, now the battle for the parliament begins
Moldova’s foreign policy reset
Russian establishment quick to congratulate Moldova's new president-elect
Rising COVID-19 cases put intense pressure on CEE healthcare systems
MEPs urge European Commission to act against Hungarian media financing in North Macedonia and Slovenia
North Macedonia mulls decriminalising cannabis to boost tourism
Retail surpass pre-crisis peak as Romanians shop instead of holiday
Romania’s stability election
Romanian venture capital firm Catalyst launches new €40mn-50mn fund for TMT
The state is back in business
Slovenian PM Jansa stands alongside Hungary and Poland in EU rule of law row
BEYOND THE BOSPORUS: Turkish number crunchers deliver November inflation surprise of 14%
Erdogan needs to go says analyst assessing Turkey’s economic collapse
Ukraine strikes deal with Turkey to produce killer drones instrumental in Karabakh conflict
In Karabakh deal, as many questions as answers
Protesters flood Yerevan demanding Armenia’s “traitor” PM quit over Nagorno-Karabakh surrender
Who emerge as the real winners from the bloody Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?
Below average 2020 wine production destined for volatile and uncertain global market
Iran calls on Saudis to limit $67bn defence spending to Tehran’s $10bn
Iranian prosecutors pledge to pursue Trump for Soleimani killing even after he leaves White House
No reaction from Kazakh elites as bombshell FT report says Nazarbayev’s son in law siphoned millions from pipeline scheme
UK court freezes $5bn in assets connected to fugitive Kazakh banker Ablyazov
Attack of the Debt Tsunami: global debt soars to a new all-time high
Kyrgyzstan's proposed new constitution provokes widespread revulsion
Kyrgyzstan's China debt: Between crowdfunding and austerity
CFC joins RWC in assessing KAZ Minerals buyout offer as under-valuation
China business briefing: Not happy with Kyrgyzstan
Mongolian coal exports to China paralysed as Beijing demands virus testing of truck drivers
Mongolia fears economic damage as country faces up to its first local transmissions of coronavirus
Mongolia in lockdown after suffering first local coronavirus transmissions
Mongolia’s wrestling culture: From the grasslands to the cage
No surprises in Tajikistan as Rahmon retains presidency with 91% of vote
A Tajikistan poised on verge of economic calamity set for vote
Tajikistan revives on-off dispute with Iran
Turkmenistan: The dammed united
Turkmenistan: Everybody yurts, sometimes
Dirty money investigation reviews identified payments worth $1.4bn linked to Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan unveils extensive privatisation programme
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The initial international media coverage of US President Donald Trump’s October 14 decision to respond to Turkey’s incursion into northeast Syria with sanctions was rather witless.
As bne IntelliNews has been suggesting for several days now, Trump has shown a clear reluctance to go after his political pals in the Erdogan administration and what he’s come up with—in the face of building pressure from both Democrats and Republicans since his withdrawal of US forces simultaneously betrayed Kurdish allies of Washington and made the Turkish offensive possible—can be very well described as ‘fake sanctions’ and ‘sanctions lite’. How the Turkish markets loved it, with the Turkish lira raising Erdogan’s middle finger to the world by actually strengthening against the dollar following the so-called sanctions news.
“Minimal sanctions. A few individuals. A trade deal which was years off anyway. And steel tariffs up to 50%—Turkey hardly exports anything anyway. Window dressing from Trump. Likely relief in Turkish markets—they could have been much worse. Nothing on Halkbank,” Timothy Ash of BlueBay Asset Management said in an emailed note to investors, referring in his last point to the Turkish state lender that has long been exposed to potential sanctions since it was accused of playing a key role in a big Iran sanctions-busting case.
“Investors breathed a sigh of relief that harsher measures were avoided—there had been rumours that Turkish banks might be targeted—and local financial markets have rallied. The lira strengthened by as much as 1% against the dollar [to below 5.90] today... And the stock market is up by 1.5% [to over 95,000 on the benchmark BIST-100], partially reversing a 5% plunge yesterday,” Jason Tuvey of Capital Economics said on October 15 in a research note.
“Am I bovvered? That's how I imagine the expression on [Erdogan]'s face last night when he received the list of sanctions imposed by [Trump]. Talk about Diet Sanctions. Far from "obliterating' Turkey's economy, the punishment meted out was akin to tickle torture. Some steel sanctions, scarcely worthy of the name, the stalling of trade agreements talks which were hypothetical anyway and possibly the worst of all, the despatch of that sanctimonious prig, [US Vice President] Mike Pence to Ankara [currently at an unknown time] to lecture the Turks on conducting invasions 'humanely',” Julian Rimmer of Investec responded in a note to investors.
“Far from stopping the Turkish army in their tracks, [E]rdogan, if anything, will be encouraged by the timidity of [Trump]'s penalties and will press on until they achieve their objectives... There may be another week of this unless there is an unforeseen excrescence in the conflict when volatile elements collide. I would probably still be avoiding Turkey for now despite the near 10% fall in banking stocks yesterday. There are too many variables in the narrative,” Rimmer added.
“The winner among all of this is, by common consent, [Vladimir] Putin,… Given Turkey's relegation to investment banking detention centre and punters' long-term dereliction of South Africa, Russia remains the only game in town,” he also observed.
Meanwhile, Erdogan’s Syria operation continues to advance like clockwork based on nods and winks from Washington and close coordination with Putin’s officials and military men who have pledged to make sure that there are no clashes between the Turks moving south and the Russian-backed Damascus regime forces moving north since they struck a deal to stave off Erdogan’s invasion with the deserted Kurds.
Turkish troops and the Erdogan-backed rebel jihadists are expanding their control in the area between the Turkish border and the M4 highway, a distance of roughly 30-35 kilometres, while the forces of Bashar al-Assad’s regime have been entering Kurd-held locations that no longer enjoy a US security umbrella.
The current course of events can be evaluated as similar to what occurred after Erdogan’s invasion of Afrin in northwestern Syria in March 2018, one month before his ultra-nationalist ally Devlet Bahceli called for snap elections that were held in June last year.
At the beginning of the Afrin operation, just as now, the global media was filled with various nations striking their public relations poses, while the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and People’s Protection Units (YPG) were pushing the propaganda that they would defend the town against the threat of jihadism.
Later on, the PYD/YPG left the town to Erdogan’s jihadists on the order of the US and the Russian/Assad forces showed Erdogan where to stop.
Trump’s paltry sanctions name Turkey’s ministers of defence, energy and the interior, but they do not name Treasury Minister Berat Albayrak, who is Erdogan’s son-in-law.
If you hear of more ‘Turkey sanctions’ news, it may only be worth sitting up if they extend to Turkey’s banks or to broader USD financing and markets. Koon Chow, emerging markets strategist at UBP, was quoted by Reuters as saying the sanctions “did not touch state-owned banks as some investors had worried” and will have “low or little implication for capital flows into or out of the country”.
In other words, a nothingburger. The regularity and ease with which Trump pulls the wool over the eyes of the international media continues to bewilder and amaze.
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