Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkish Presidential Palace via Reuters/Cem Oksuz
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long sought to broaden Turkey's global influence. Photo: Turkish Presidential Palace via Reuters/Cem Oksuz

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will spend close to US$6 billion on bonus checks to Turkish pensioners before the June 24 presidential elections – two payments of 1,000 lira (now about $240) to each of 12 million Turks.

No Third World kleptocrat has undertaken to buy votes so shamelessly. That sort of largesse isn’t good for the Turkish markets. The Turkish lira is trading close to its record low against the US dollar at 4.11 to the dollar, and the Turkish stock market lost 3.5% of its value in local-currency terms in Monday’s session (the market mercifully was closed for May Day).