COVID-19 and Trump’s indifference helped human rights abusers in 2020
Belarusian government sees $2bn of withdrawals, issues $580mn worth of bonds in 2020
Lukashenko: I am no enemy of the people
Storming parliaments: New Europe's greatest hits
One of Russia’s biggest wood product companies, Segezha could be Sistema’s next IPO
The volume of the Russian National Wealth Fund tops $183.93bn as gold overtakes dollar asset for first time
EU to begin certifying Russian Sputnik V vaccine for use in Europe
New Ukrainian VC firm QPDigital aims to invest up to $100 million in digital startups
EBRD investments reach record €11bn in pandemic-struck 2020
FPRI BMB Ukraine: Most Ukrainians are optimistic about 2021 – poll
OUTLOOK 2021 Lithuania
EBRD says loan to Estonia’s controversial Porto Franco project was never disbursed
Estonian premier quits after Tallinn development scandal
Top Centre Party official suspected of corruption in Tallinn real estate scandal
Czech Pirates and Mayors approve final coalition agreement for 2021 elections
OUTLOOK 2021 Czechia
BRICKS & MORTAR: Rosier future beckons for CEE retailers after year of change and disruption
Romanian tech entrepreneurs expand into banking sector
OUTLOOK 2021 Hungary
Hungarian government remains silent after Capitol riots
World Bank expects modest recovery for Europe and Central Asia in 2021
FDI inflows to CEE down 58% in 1H20 but rebound expected
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovakia
Slovakia to invest €1.2bn in digitisation
BALKAN BLOG: The controversial recipe for building up Albania
Heavy flooding causes chaos in parts of Southeast Europe
Vodafone Albania plans €100mn infrastructure investments after AbCom merger
OUTLOOK 2021 Albania
Kyiv accuses Bosnian President Dodik of lying about icon gifted to Russian foreign minister
Bosnia’s real GDP contracts 6.3% y/y in 3Q20
Sofia-based LAUNCHub Ventures holds first close of new fund on €44mn
ING THINK: Growth in the Balkans: from zero to hero again?
OUTLOOK 2020 Bulgaria
Labour demand down 28% y/y in Croatia in 2020
Zagreb Stock Exchange's Crobex10 index at highest level since March 5
OUTLOOK 2021 Kosovo
Arrera Automobili aims to launch Albania’s first supercar
World Bank revises projection for Moldova’s 2020 GDP decline to 7.2%
Moldova’s PM resigns to prepare the ground for early elections
Socialist lawmakers in Moldova scrap settlement on $1bn bank frauds
Montenegro’s new ruling coalition carves up top state jobs
OUTLOOK 2021 Montenegro
Vast tide of floating waste threatens Balkan hydropower plants
North Macedonia's manufacturing confidence indicator down by 8.5 pp y/y in December
OUTLOOK 2021 North Macedonia
Transparency International warns of high corruption risk in CEE defence sectors
Moldova fears flooding from Ukraine's planned Dniester hydropower plants
Romania’s industrial recovery paused in November
OUTLOOK 2021 Serbia
Slovenia’s opposition files no-confidence motion against Jansa cabinet
UK Moneyhub picks Slovenia for post-Brexit European base
Slovenia’s dire COVID-19 situation in 4Q20 caused second economic dip
Slovenia’s Eligma completes €4mn funding round
BEYOND THE BOSPORUS: Let’s tentatively pencil in a date for Turkey’s hot money outflow
Turkish opposition leader lawsuit demands one lira from Erdogan, police probe “bald” interior minister posts
OUTLOOK 2021 Armenia
Armenia’s PM cautions conflict with Azerbaijan “still not settled” after trilateral meeting with Putin
COMMENT: Record high debt levels will slow post-coronavirus recovery, threaten some countries' financial stability, says IIF
Russia, Kazakhstan pushing for oil production increases on the back of coronavirus vaccine-fuelled oil price optimism
OUTLOOK 2021 Georgia
Georgia’s political kingpin Bidzina Ivanishvili quits politics
Modern-day “Robin Hood” inspires Georgians drowning in debt
Iran’s navy conducts missile drill while analyst argues Trump even capable of nuclear strike in final days
TEHRAN BLOG: Who’s more credible? Johnson backing Trump’s Nobel chances or Iran applauding arrest warrant for US president?
STOLYPIN: Scope for limited progress under Biden, so long as the past remains the past
Central Asia vaccination plans underwhelm, but governments look unruffled
Fears of authoritarianism as Kyrgyz populist wins landslide and backing for ‘Khanstitution’
OUTLOOK 2021 Kyrgyzstan
Mongolia's winter dzud set to be one of most extreme on record says Red Cross
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
OUTLOOK 2021 Tajikistan
China business briefing: Not happy with Kyrgyzstan
OUTLOOK 2021 Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan: How the Grinch stole New Year
Turkmenistan: The dammed united
COMMENT: Uzbekistan is being transformed, but where are the democratic reforms?
OUTLOOK 2021 Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan’s Makro positions itself for growth in a more competitive market
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Turkey’s top business leaders are reportedly pressing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to beef up his economic support plan to help companies through the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and perhaps announce a strict lockdown to curb the worryingly fast spread of the outbreak in the country.
Erdogan nine days ago announced a Turkish lira (TRY) 100bn ($15.4bn) plan of support that includes tax cuts and loan payment deferrals. However, given that Turkey has a $750bn economy, critics see it as far from enough, with Moody’s having earlier this week warned that the country of 82mn is likely to be hit harder by the economic effects of the pandemic than any other G20 economy. That ominous warning is even more worrying taken together with the fact that an increasing number of academics are claiming that Turkey has done too little, too late to fight its COVID-19 outbreak and—in the words of columnist and scholar Cengiz Candar—“could be heading to the brink of catastrophe”.
The new pressure on Erdogan to do more has been brought to bear by board members of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (Tusiad) in a letter sent to the president, according to Bloomberg.
The contents of the letter have not been made public, but the news agency quoted a source as saying that Tusiad’s main concern was a lack of guidance from the government on how long the economy would be operating under a slowdown.
“Their call to the Turkish leader shows growing discomfort among the country’s most influential businesses as they seek support to offset the weakening demand at home and in export markets led by Europe,” the source was cited as saying.
The Tusiad board is said to have discussed recommending that the government announce a strict, national lockdown to more quickly slow the spread of the virus. Such a measure, while a hard medicine to swallow, would enable businesses to plan for a defined period of slowdown in the expectation of an accelerated rebound.
Istanbul’s mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, a member of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), on March 26 called for a full curfew in Turkey’s business and cultural capital.
Hundreds of thousands of companies across the country have already shut down in the face of the pandemic but observers are anxious that millions of Turks are still forced to mingle while they journey to inessential jobs—the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) has called on the Erdogan administration to address this difficulty by providing workers with paid leave. Imamoglu pointed out that more than a million people had used public transport in Istanbul during the most critical period in the attempt at driving back the coronavirus.
One worrying episode that resulted from Turkey’s shutdown of almost all flights as part of its fight against the pandemic has stranded around 2,000 people at Istanbul Airport. More than half of the travellers stuck at the airport, one of the world’s busiest international hubs, were Algerian citizens, while others were from Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, according to airport operator IGA. It added that Turkish Airlines and Turkish Red Crescent were providing meals and essentials for the people stuck at the airport, Unverified video footage posted on social media appeared to show scuffles between police and passengers wearing medical masks at an Istanbul Airport terminal building.
Turkey’s officially recorded number of COVID-19 infections rose by 1,196 on March 26 to reach 3,629, with 75 related deaths. The country reported its first infection as late as March 10, but many observers doubt the veracity of the official data.
Reuters on March 26 quoted Sinan Adiyaman, chairman of the TTB, as saying that Turkey’s “[…] test numbers [for COVID-19] are low. We were certainly not prepared. Countries that are ready must have high test numbers”.
The government has insisted it took timely measures to delay the outbreak but Adiyaman said Turkey was slow on some steps, including suspending sports leagues and quarantining those coming from abroad, especially thousands returning this month from an Umrah pilgrimage.
“Around 200,000 people arrived from abroad since the outbreak began, and they were just given a simple fever test and released across Turkey in an uncontrolled manner,” he said. “You cannot fight a pandemic this way.”
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