On unlawful property seizure in Turkey

Yesterday, I posted a piece here arguing that investors would have to be crazy to invest money in Turkey given President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s corruption, his disdain for rule-of-law, and his track record of seizing businesses—just in the last year enterprises worth more than $11 billion—from political opponents.

In response, a reader wrote in with some helpful historical context showing that Erdogan’s actions are more the rule than the exception:

This is not the first time. It is the norm in Turkey. Between 1915 and 1924, the government took all of the properties and businesses of Armenians. In 1944 and 1945, a wealth tax was imposed on Jewish- and Christian-owned properties. Those who could not pay were sent to camps, and their properties and businesses were taken over. Between 1955 and 1973, all of the Greek properties and businesses were confiscated by special laws. These are just a few of the examples.

I thank my correspondent for writing in. Of course, this only reaffirms the point. Turkish organizations and lobbyists in Washington may argue Turkey’s economic future is rosy, but it is impossible to build a stable, growing economy when personal and political vendetta (or, as my correspondent points out, ethnic and religious bigotry) trumps rule-of-law.

Michael Rubin is a former Pentagon official whose major research areas are the Middle East, Turkey, Iran and diplomacy.

Πηγή: American Enterprise Institute

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