Donald Trump’s victory in the US elections has rattled the world markets and Turkish assets are no exception. As the news emerged in the early hours of November 9 suggesting that Trump is moving closer to the White House, the lira hit a record low of 3.30 against the US dollar. It later gained some ground to trade at 3.1903 as of 10:40 Istanbul time.
Stocks are down 1.54% and the yield on the 10-year bond eased to 10.48% shortly after touching 10.53%. But shares in Dogan Holding surged 12% on the elections results. Dogan and Trump developed Trump Towers, a commercial and residential complex in Istanbul’s central business district, in 2012. Shares in other Dogan Group companies rose too: Hurriyet was up 9%, Dogan Burda increased 7.6% and Dogan Gazetecilik gained nearly 6%.
Relations between Turkey and the US have been strained over the past few months. It is yet to be seen how they will evolve under Trump's administration. In the run-up to the elections in the US, pro-government media in Turkey appeared to favour Trump over Clinton because of the latter’s comments that she would arm the YPG Kurdish militia in Syria if she becomes the next president. Those messages irked Ankara that considers YPG a terrorist organisation because of its link to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that launched an insurgency against the Turkish state in mid-1980s. “What does that mean? Is the US not our ally? What does it mean to support them – the YPG-with arms?” scolded Primer Minister Binali Yildirim on October 11, as the Hurriyet Daily News reported. “Fighting against one terrorist organisation – Islamic State – by using another terrorist organisation was “unacceptable,” he said, commenting on Clinton’s remarks.
Pro-government media also suspected ties between Clinton and US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara says masterminded the failed July 15 coup attempt. There were reports suggested that supporters of Gulen in the US donated to the Clinton campaign. Turkey has been asking for the extradition of Gulen. The government may now hope that the new administration in Washington will finally hand him over to Turkey.
In an interview with the New York Times back in July, Trump praised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan . “I give great credit to him for being able to turn that – the coup attempt – around…. The people came out of their homes, and they were not in favour of what the military was doing. So that was quite impressive from the standpoint of existing government. I will say this: I think Turkey can do a lot against ISIS, and I would hope that if I’m dealing with them, they will do much more about ISIS.”
When asked about the sweeping purges in the wake of the botched push, Trump said: “I think right now when it comes to civil liberties, our country has a lot of problems, and I think it’s very hard for us to get involved in other countries when we don’t know what we are doing and we can’t see straight in our own country.” His statements give impression that that the new administration will not give too much headache to Ankara over human rights and freedoms.
“How are we going to lecture – about what they do inside their borders – when people are shooting our policemen in cold blood. How are we going to lecture when you see the riots and the horror going on in our own country”, Trump said.
A Turkish official told Reuters that the election of Trumps as president will not cause problems, and the two countries will remain strategic partners. He expected to see stronger ties, the official said. Trump’s earlier statements that terrorist groups in Syria would not be supported is important for Turkey, he added.
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