Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is rarely anything other than eminently quotable. But from time to time he expresses an idea which strikes a chord with many people outside his natural constituency, and during a recent riff during the Fifth Bali Democracy Forum – an annual event that has been held since 2008 and which focuses principally on democratic developments within Asia – he did so again in a series of remarks directed to the International Monetary Fund (‘IMF’), where he openly questioned the value of cross-border transactions being denominated in a currency belonging to any single nation (or, by implication, a group of nations).
According to Erdoğan, the world should consider switching ‘to a monetary unit such as gold, which is at the very least an international constant and indicator which has maintained its honor throughout history. This is something to think about.’
A few years ago, such comments would have seemed implausible, but it is now easy to imagine many economic sages agreeing with the leader of the Justice and Development Party, a political entity that has ruled Turkey since 2002.
With major paper currencies losing value against precious metals and gold in particular enjoying something of an international renaissance, it seems logical enough to suggest alternatives to the present (and still largely dollar-based) arrangements of international finance and trade.
Upset with world, PM stages all-out bashing
Speaking at an international summit, the Turkish PM slams a number of global bodies, including the UN and the IMF, calling for their reform and arguing that capital punishment is sometimes ‘legitimate’
Throwing diplomacy out the window, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has criticized major world institutions, bashing both the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for their structures. He also argued that capital punishment “is legitimate in certain situations,” referring to the recent court ruling in the case against Norwegian-mass murder Breivik.
Speaking at the Bali Democracy Forum in Indonesia, Erdoğan criticized the U.N. for its inaction on certain issues, including Syria and the Israel-Palestine stalemate. He went on to issue harsh criticisms against the IMF for what he called its “bitter” prescriptions.
“What is the efficacy of the U.N. beyond the Security Council? Everything is determined by the five permanent members of the council. If one of them vetoes you cannot find any solution,” Erdoğan said. “The U.N. has not been able to resolve the Israel-Palestine issue. It is incapable [of action] on the Somalia issue and Myanmar as well. When will the U.N. take action if it cannot resolve these issues,” the prime minister said.
Turning his attention to the IMF, Erdoğan continued to issue criticisms. “It is thought-provoking that the IMF is not using gold as a global currency rather than any currency, and it only gives aid on a where and what basis,” he said. Reminding his audience of Turkey’s “bitter” experiences with the fund, the premier said the prescriptions of the IMF often caused serious problems for countries in trouble. “One would wish that the IMF would help the countries in trouble, but this is not the case, we should achieve this,” he said.