Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is facing a sharp decline in confidence in his economic management amid the chaotic economic climate he has created by pushing for lower interest rates despite high inflation and a free falling currency.

The growing mistrust is reflected in the consumer confidence index as well as the ongoing rush for hard currency, with Turks scrambling to protect the value of their money against inflation and the dramatic decline of the Turkish lira.

The consumer confidence index has plunged to its worst level since its introduction in 2004, not long after Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party came to power in November 2002. The index, produced by the Turkish Statistical Institute in collaboration with the central bank, dropped to 71.1 in November, a staggering 7.3% decrease from the previous month, according to data released Nov. 22. It is the lowest grade that Erdogan has received from consumers in his political career and a far cry from his heyday in the first half of 2004, when the readings hovered above 100.

The index, based on monthly surveys of more than 4,800 households, is measured within the range of zero to 200. A confidence level below 100 indicates a pessimistic outlook, while a reading above 100 denotes optimism. The more the index drops below the 100 mark, the more pessimism it indicates.

The index is widely seen as an indicator of confidence in Erdogan, especially in his economic management, and thus a major sign of his political fortunes. The November dip reflects a sharp deterioration in how consumers — and thus voters — appraise their own and the country’s economic prospects. The consumer confidence survey, along with a similar survey conducted among producers, serves as a basis for the composite economic confidence index.



Written by Mustafa Sönmez