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Economic Fears Grip Turkey

Turkey’s currency this month has suffered heavy falls triggered by U.S. Turkish tensions over the ongoing detention of an American pastor. Washington’s threat to impose new economic sanctions sparked another steep currency drop Friday. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul on the economic fall out for people in Istanbul.

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iDnipro

Economic Fears Grip Turkey

Turkey’s currency this month has suffered heavy falls triggered by U.S. Turkish tensions over the ongoing detention of an American pastor. Washington’s threat to impose new economic sanctions sparked another steep currency drop Friday. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul on the economic fall out for people in Istanbul.

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iDnipro

Economic Fears Grip Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is vowing he won’t back down in the deepening dispute with Washington.

“They were not able to make us collapse and they never will. If they have their dollars, we have our God. We will walk toward the future together with firm steps,” Erdogan said to thousands of party members at the national congress of his ruling AKP Party in Ankara.

Turkey’s currency plummeted this month following Washington’s trade tariffs and sanctions, as bilateral tensions escalated. Those tensions intensified Friday when a Turkish court ruled for the continued detention of American Pastor Andrew Brunson.

Brunson trial

Brunson, who is being tried on terrorism charges, is a big part of the disagreement between the two NATO allies. Before Friday’s ruling U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted, “Turkey has taken advantage of the United States for many years,” adding, “We will pay nothing for the release of an innocent man, but we are cutting back on Turkey.”

Strain over Brunson’s ongoing detention cased the Turkish lira to fall Friday. Further declines of the Turkish currency are anticipated because of expected additional U.S. sanctions. “We have more that we are planning to do if they don’t release [Mr. Brunson] quickly,” said U.S. Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday.

The Turkish lira has lost nearly 40 percent recently, with roughly half of the losses this month.

 

Istanbul’s Kadikoy neighborhood is the heart of the Asian side of the city. Shops and traders are struggling to come to terms with the wild gyrations in the currency’s value.

Imported goods

Stores depending heavily on imported goods are among the hardest hit.

“Ninety percent of the goods we sell are imported goods,” said Taylan Akcora, a sporting goods shop owner in Kadikoy.

“They are all brands [we sell] and imported to Turkey from the Far East,” he continued. “There are firms who import them [shoes], we buy all our goods from the Turkey distributor of the brand. They will surely put up the prices.”

Turkey is no stranger to a currency crisis, all of which invariably resulted in a surge in inflation and unemployment. The country’s heavy dependence on imports is exacerbating the impact of the currency depreciation. Energy-poor Turkey imports more than 90 percent of its oil and natural gas.

Aslan Yuce runs a tea shop on Kadikoy’s main street. Yuce claims fear of the future is stalking the streets.

“No one is feeling secure. There is no one looking at the future with hope,” he said. “I am a shop owner here, and I see people passing by, everyone looks grim, or thoughtful as if they all lost their hopes about their lives. There is such a psychological situation here,“ Yuce added.

Pharmacy sector

However, it’s the sick who could be the first to suffer. “The rise in the value of the U.S. dollar and the general foreign exchange rate will drastically affect our pharmacy sector, which is so dependent on imports,” said Guliz Kaptan, who has owned a pharmacy in Kadikoy for 30 years.  

“Turkish pharmaceutical producers will not even be able to purchase the active ingredients for the current selling price of the medicine on the shelf,” Kaptan added.

Much of the medicine used in Turkey is paid for at least in part by the government. President Erdogan expanded a social security network, especially for health. With rapid currency declines, however, cutbacks already have started.

“Another effect, under precautionary economic measures taken by the government,” Kaptan said. “The national health insurance has stopped paying for best-selling imported medicines, including anti-depressants.”

Further cutbacks could be in the offing with the uncertainty about the Turkish lira and for the broader economy. Two international credit rating agencies recently downgraded Turkey’s sovereign debt further into junk status.

Lira plummets

The ratings agencies both voiced fears about the management of the economy. “Over the last two weeks, the Turkish lira has exhibited extreme volatility,” said Standard and Poor’s rating service in a statement Friday. “This follows Turkey’s prolonged economic overheating, external leveraging, and policy drift,” S&P added.

Erdogan insists the Turkish economy remains strong, and the currency drop is a result of “economic missiles” from Washington. Economists warn even if the Turkish president reverses his stance and adopts steps called for by international investors, a painful road awaits Turkey. “It’s too late,” said analyst Atilla Yesilada of Global Source Partners.

“You can solve the currency problem. You can solve the political problems, but it’s too late to save the economy. A Brazilian type of recession has started. For the next year or two, Turkey will not grow. It will shrink in some quarters, a quarter of a percent of growth in some others. However, it’s going to be extremely painful,“ added Yesilada.

 

 

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iDnipro

Economic Fears Grip Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is vowing he won’t back down in the deepening dispute with Washington.

“They were not able to make us collapse and they never will. If they have their dollars, we have our God. We will walk toward the future together with firm steps,” Erdogan said to thousands of party members at the national congress of his ruling AKP Party in Ankara.

Turkey’s currency plummeted this month following Washington’s trade tariffs and sanctions, as bilateral tensions escalated. Those tensions intensified Friday when a Turkish court ruled for the continued detention of American Pastor Andrew Brunson.

Brunson trial

Brunson, who is being tried on terrorism charges, is a big part of the disagreement between the two NATO allies. Before Friday’s ruling U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted, “Turkey has taken advantage of the United States for many years,” adding, “We will pay nothing for the release of an innocent man, but we are cutting back on Turkey.”

Strain over Brunson’s ongoing detention cased the Turkish lira to fall Friday. Further declines of the Turkish currency are anticipated because of expected additional U.S. sanctions. “We have more that we are planning to do if they don’t release [Mr. Brunson] quickly,” said U.S. Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday.

The Turkish lira has lost nearly 40 percent recently, with roughly half of the losses this month.

 

Istanbul’s Kadikoy neighborhood is the heart of the Asian side of the city. Shops and traders are struggling to come to terms with the wild gyrations in the currency’s value.

Imported goods

Stores depending heavily on imported goods are among the hardest hit.

“Ninety percent of the goods we sell are imported goods,” said Taylan Akcora, a sporting goods shop owner in Kadikoy.

“They are all brands [we sell] and imported to Turkey from the Far East,” he continued. “There are firms who import them [shoes], we buy all our goods from the Turkey distributor of the brand. They will surely put up the prices.”

Turkey is no stranger to a currency crisis, all of which invariably resulted in a surge in inflation and unemployment. The country’s heavy dependence on imports is exacerbating the impact of the currency depreciation. Energy-poor Turkey imports more than 90 percent of its oil and natural gas.

Aslan Yuce runs a tea shop on Kadikoy’s main street. Yuce claims fear of the future is stalking the streets.

“No one is feeling secure. There is no one looking at the future with hope,” he said. “I am a shop owner here, and I see people passing by, everyone looks grim, or thoughtful as if they all lost their hopes about their lives. There is such a psychological situation here,“ Yuce added.

Pharmacy sector

However, it’s the sick who could be the first to suffer. “The rise in the value of the U.S. dollar and the general foreign exchange rate will drastically affect our pharmacy sector, which is so dependent on imports,” said Guliz Kaptan, who has owned a pharmacy in Kadikoy for 30 years.  

“Turkish pharmaceutical producers will not even be able to purchase the active ingredients for the current selling price of the medicine on the shelf,” Kaptan added.

Much of the medicine used in Turkey is paid for at least in part by the government. President Erdogan expanded a social security network, especially for health. With rapid currency declines, however, cutbacks already have started.

“Another effect, under precautionary economic measures taken by the government,” Kaptan said. “The national health insurance has stopped paying for best-selling imported medicines, including anti-depressants.”

Further cutbacks could be in the offing with the uncertainty about the Turkish lira and for the broader economy. Two international credit rating agencies recently downgraded Turkey’s sovereign debt further into junk status.

Lira plummets

The ratings agencies both voiced fears about the management of the economy. “Over the last two weeks, the Turkish lira has exhibited extreme volatility,” said Standard and Poor’s rating service in a statement Friday. “This follows Turkey’s prolonged economic overheating, external leveraging, and policy drift,” S&P added.

Erdogan insists the Turkish economy remains strong, and the currency drop is a result of “economic missiles” from Washington. Economists warn even if the Turkish president reverses his stance and adopts steps called for by international investors, a painful road awaits Turkey. “It’s too late,” said analyst Atilla Yesilada of Global Source Partners.

“You can solve the currency problem. You can solve the political problems, but it’s too late to save the economy. A Brazilian type of recession has started. For the next year or two, Turkey will not grow. It will shrink in some quarters, a quarter of a percent of growth in some others. However, it’s going to be extremely painful,“ added Yesilada.

 

 

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iDnipro

Tech Companies Struggle With How to Curtail Offensive Speech

Twitter users are blocking companies like Pepsi, Nike and Uber on Twitter to pressure the social media firm to permanently ban American broadcaster Alex Jones for what they say are his abusive tweets.

Meanwhile, Twitter reportedly is facing a shutdown in Pakistan because of a government request to block what it deems objectionable content.

The moves come as U.S. internet companies take a harder look at their policies that have promoted free expression around the world. The companies have a mostly hands-off policy when it comes to curtailing speech, except when it comes to inciting violence and pornography. But that largely permissive approach is getting a new look.

​Twitter and Alex Jones

Twitter recently slapped a seven-day ban on conservative American radio host Jones for violating its policy on abusive speech, when he appeared to call for violence against the media, something he denies.

On his show this week, Jones noted that Twitter had removed his videos.

“They took me down,” he said. “Because they will not let me have a voice.”

Earlier this month, Apple, Spotify, Facebook, YouTube and other social media limited Jones and his InfoWars media company from their sites. But InfoWars’ live-streaming app can still be found at Google and Apple’s app stores. The on-air personality has put forth conspiracy theories calling some U.S. mass shootings hoaxes.

WATCH: Tech Companies Struggle With How to Curtail Offensive Speech

No more hands off

Internet firms are moving away from the long-held position that they didn’t want to monitor expression on their sites too closely, Irina Raicu, director of the Internet Ethics Program at Santa Clara University, said.

“The companies are stuck in the middle and no longer trying to avoid responsibility in a way that I think they were even a few years ago when they were saying we are just neutral platforms,” Raicu said. “They are increasingly taking a more open role in determining what content moderation looks like.”

It’s not just in the U.S. where the internet companies are having to make hard decisions about speech. The firms are also grappling with extreme speech in other languages.

Comments on Facebook have been linked to violence in places like Myanmar and India. A recent article by the Reuters news agency reports that negative messages about Myanmar’s Rohingya minority group were throughout its site.

Some call on social media companies to do more to target and take down hate messages before they lead to violence.

“If Facebook is bent on removing abusive words and nudity, they should be focused on removing these words as well,” said Abhinay Korukonda, a student from Mumbai, India, who is studying at the University of California, Berkeley. “This comes under special kinds of abusive terms. They should take an action. They should definitely remove these.”

Objective standards

Ming Hsu studies decision-making at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. He is researching how to come up with objective standards for determining whether certain speech could lead to real-world dangers against people both in the U.S. and across the globe.

“We don’t have actionable standards for policymakers or for companies or even lay people to say, ‘This is crossing the boundaries, this is way past the boundaries and this is sort of OK,’” Hsu said.

Those calls are even harder when looking at speech in other languages and cultures, he added.

“We don’t really have any intuition for who’s right, who is wrong and who is being discriminated against,” Hsu said. “And that gets back to relying on common sense and how fragile that is.”

Tech companies are known for constantly tweaking their products and software. Now it seems they are taking the same approach with speech as they draw the line between free expression and reducing harm.

VOA’s Deana Mitchell contributed to this report.

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!
iDnipro

Tech Companies Struggle With How to Curtail Offensive Speech

Twitter users are blocking companies like Pepsi, Nike and Uber on Twitter to pressure the social media firm to permanently ban American broadcaster Alex Jones for what they say are his abusive tweets.

Meanwhile, Twitter reportedly is facing a shutdown in Pakistan because of a government request to block what it deems objectionable content.

The moves come as U.S. internet companies take a harder look at their policies that have promoted free expression around the world. The companies have a mostly hands-off policy when it comes to curtailing speech, except when it comes to inciting violence and pornography. But that largely permissive approach is getting a new look.

​Twitter and Alex Jones

Twitter recently slapped a seven-day ban on conservative American radio host Jones for violating its policy on abusive speech, when he appeared to call for violence against the media, something he denies.

On his show this week, Jones noted that Twitter had removed his videos.

“They took me down,” he said. “Because they will not let me have a voice.”

Earlier this month, Apple, Spotify, Facebook, YouTube and other social media limited Jones and his InfoWars media company from their sites. But InfoWars’ live-streaming app can still be found at Google and Apple’s app stores. The on-air personality has put forth conspiracy theories calling some U.S. mass shootings hoaxes.

WATCH: Tech Companies Struggle With How to Curtail Offensive Speech

No more hands off

Internet firms are moving away from the long-held position that they didn’t want to monitor expression on their sites too closely, Irina Raicu, director of the Internet Ethics Program at Santa Clara University, said.

“The companies are stuck in the middle and no longer trying to avoid responsibility in a way that I think they were even a few years ago when they were saying we are just neutral platforms,” Raicu said. “They are increasingly taking a more open role in determining what content moderation looks like.”

It’s not just in the U.S. where the internet companies are having to make hard decisions about speech. The firms are also grappling with extreme speech in other languages.

Comments on Facebook have been linked to violence in places like Myanmar and India. A recent article by the Reuters news agency reports that negative messages about Myanmar’s Rohingya minority group were throughout its site.

Some call on social media companies to do more to target and take down hate messages before they lead to violence.

“If Facebook is bent on removing abusive words and nudity, they should be focused on removing these words as well,” said Abhinay Korukonda, a student from Mumbai, India, who is studying at the University of California, Berkeley. “This comes under special kinds of abusive terms. They should take an action. They should definitely remove these.”

Objective standards

Ming Hsu studies decision-making at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. He is researching how to come up with objective standards for determining whether certain speech could lead to real-world dangers against people both in the U.S. and across the globe.

“We don’t have actionable standards for policymakers or for companies or even lay people to say, ‘This is crossing the boundaries, this is way past the boundaries and this is sort of OK,’” Hsu said.

Those calls are even harder when looking at speech in other languages and cultures, he added.

“We don’t really have any intuition for who’s right, who is wrong and who is being discriminated against,” Hsu said. “And that gets back to relying on common sense and how fragile that is.”

Tech companies are known for constantly tweaking their products and software. Now it seems they are taking the same approach with speech as they draw the line between free expression and reducing harm.

VOA’s Deana Mitchell contributed to this report.

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!
iDnipro

Tech Companies Struggle With How to Curtail Offensive Speech

Tech companies like Google’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have long been global platforms for free expression but are increasingly facing calls to respond to offensive and abusive comments on their sites. Michelle Quinn reports this is an issue both in the U.S. and throughout the world.

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!
iDnipro

Tech Companies Struggle With How to Curtail Offensive Speech

Tech companies like Google’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have long been global platforms for free expression but are increasingly facing calls to respond to offensive and abusive comments on their sites. Michelle Quinn reports this is an issue both in the U.S. and throughout the world.

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!