“I exported 200 tons of gold and provided 25 billion TL income to Turkey. I covered 15% of the current account deficit.”
Do you remember who said that sentence?
True, Riza Sarraf. Iranian-born businessman who set up a system based on gold trading to circumvent international sanctions against Iran and bribed ministers of the Republic of Turkey to keep the system running smoothly.
15% current account deficit is a lot of money, but even if we deduct the exaggeration, there is no doubt that Zarraf brought a significant amount of foreign currency to Turkey at this time.
So yes, Zarraf helped close the current account deficit and provided huge inflows of resources to the economy, which was reeling under the influence of the global crisis of 2008-2009.
The secret to Zarraf’s ability to operate the system that circumvents Iranian sanctions was not only the network of corruption he established, but also state authorization and paving the way for this work. . After the global crisis of 2008-2009, foreign exchange inflows were needed to fill the current account deficit of 15% but 5%.
Perhaps part of the current account deficit was made up with the system put in place by Zarraf. But socks were knitted on Turkey’s head.
The lawsuit filed against Halkbank in the US for mediating Iran sanctions still hangs over Turkey today like the sword of Damocles. Halkbank shares have been on the ground for years ahead of a major penalty. It is known that in the recent past one of the main items on the agenda of the talks between President Erdogan and former US President Trump was the Halkbank affair, and negotiations were conducted in exchange for the closure of the case.
Why did I remember Riza Zarraf out of the blue? As then, the Turkish economy is now going through a difficult period. At that time, the source of the trouble was the global crisis, this time the crisis is of local origin. The Turkish lira depreciated 44% against the dollar in the last year alone and inflation has skyrocketed.
As if that were not enough, a Russian-Ukrainian war broke out. The prices of raw materials that Turkey needs to import, such as oil, wheat, sunflower oil and aluminum, have reached record highs. There will be no Ukrainian tourists this summer. It is doubtful that he comes from Russia. Again, a large current account deficit looms on the horizon. As in the days of Zarraf, it is necessary to find additional sources of foreign currency, to pull a rabbit out of the hat.
The rabbit in the hat Could it be oligarchs fleeing Europe (and smuggling their goods) because of the heavy sanctions imposed on Russia?
Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusogluon Russian oligarchs “Can they come to Turkey? He answered the next day to the question: “Our principled position is that we allow all activities that are legal in our country.”
The Russian oligarch as he said Roman AbramovichThe yacht was already anchored in Bodrum.
Riza Zarraf in Turkey “Activities” was also legal. If it wasn’t legal, would Riza Zarraf receive the award for the biggest exporter?
Zarrab took the podium as an “export champion” in the jewelry industry in 2015, the award was given to Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş, Minister of Economy. Nihat Zeybekci and President of TIM Mehmet BuyukeksiHe had taken it from her.
A year after receiving the Export Champion award in Turkey, Zarrab was arrested in the United States for defrauding the United States in violation of Iran sanctions, bank fraud and money laundering.
His court has turned into a scene where charges have been made that embarrass Turkey. Zarrab had decided to become a confessor. He recounted countless things, including the bribes he gave in Turkey.
As I explained above, the problem is not yet closed. The case in the United States is ongoing.
Have state leaders learned from the Rıza Zarraf incident? Or are they planning to lay the red carpet at the feet of the Russian oligarchs to deal with the frightening increase in the current account deficit just before the 2023 elections?
Timothy Ash, director of one of the international investment institutions, said the other day about Turkey’s yearning for money from the oligarchs. “If the oligarchs put their money in Turkish banks, OFAC (the institution that imposes the sanctions in the USA) will impose sanctions on the Turkish banks” he said.
Turkey has a strong industrial infrastructure, wonderful beaches, nature and sunshine. The current account deficit closes sooner or later. We didn’t need Riza Sarraf or Sarrafovs. No.