'Erdogan has fallen for classic hate theory'


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly has a long-standing disagreement with his deputy prime minister over the existence of a shadowy financial group that is said to be conspiring to bring down the country.

According to Soner Captagay, director of the Turkish research programme at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Mr Erdogan believes that financial markets are controlled by a secretive cabal that is seeking to degrade Turkey's economy by artificially inflating interest rates.

Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek, who was the country's highly successful finance minister from 2009 to 2015, disagrees.

Mr Captagay told The Times: "This is an antisemitic concept to the core, based on the premise that Jews 'run the world through an invisible but all-powerful cabal'.

"The rise of the 'interest lobby' concept demonstrates the new lows to which Turkish politics has sunk."

Mr Erdogan has blamed the "interest lobby" for violent protests that took place in Istanbul in 2013 and the recent corruption scandals that have hit his party, the AKP.

Mr Simsek kept his position following a cabinet reshuffle this week, despite widespread expectations to the contrary.

The reshuffle in Ankara elevated Binali Yildirim to the position of prime minister. He is widely seen as a yes-man, who will continue pushing policies close to the President's heart.

Observers in Jerusalem believe that the changes will not help the ongoing talks on re-establishing diplomatic ties between the two countries.

While progress has been made in recent months, the two sides remain opposed over Turkey's demands for a role in Gaza, which is also opposed by Egypt, and Israel's demand that Turkey close down the Hamas offices in Istanbul.

Some in Israel believe that, since Mr Erdogan is inherently hostile to Israel and surrounded by a circle of antisemitic advisers, he will never mend ties with the Jewish state.

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