The economic harm stemming from the failed July 15 coup has been limited, but the real damage has been to Turkey’s reputation abroad, according to Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek.
“The damage to the numbers is not permanent; the real damage is in Turkey’s reputation,” Şimşek told CNN Türk on Aug. 14.
Turkey has been growing economically under the Justice and Development Party (AKP), according to Şimşek, but the efforts of the Fethullah Gülen Movement, widely believed to have orchestrated the failed coup attempt, have significantly damaged Turkey’s reputation abroad in the last few years.
“There is an incredible international campaign against Turkey – a systematic attack financed by FETÖ [Fethullahist Terrorist Organization],” he added.
Many politicians in the United States have financed their campaigns with Gülenist funds, Şimşek said, noting that such aid had spawned propaganda against Turkey.
“Such generalizations will cause harm in the way the coup attempt could not,” he said. “Turkey has been facing the West for centuries. Our citizens deserve the most advanced democratic standards, and cutting the welfare gap with the West is our priority. Hence, attempts to abandon us and keeping us away from the West are targets of the failed coup attempt. Turkey will not fall into this trap.”
When reminded of the criticism that fundamental freedoms are diminishing in Turkey, Şimşek said the government’s fight against FETÖ was the source of complaints.
The activities of FETÖ should be taken into account when considering the situation, the deputy PM said. “When France declares a state of emergency, everybody gives their approval or even applauds, but when Turkey does it, some make calls to stay away from Turkey.”
Şimşek said the efforts to persuade representatives of international capital to keep investing in Turkey will continue.
“I may go to the Asia-Pacific region in the last week of this month, when the holiday season is over,” he said.
“Then we will spend most of September in the West with investors and finance circles, exerting efforts to keep the funds and investments flowing to Turkey.”
Şimşek also said a decision by ratings agencies to downgrade Turkey would be a mistake.
“It would not have been a surprise if Turkey’s rating had been downgraded in the wake of the coup attempt,” he said. “But we said ‘let us tell you, then do however you please.’”
The predictions of ratings agencies did not occur, Şimşek said.
“Now that FETÖ has been crushed, Turkey will relax,” he added. “The democracy and the economy of the country have been strengthened. We did not back down from reforms even during the state of emergency.”