The tourist sector is a key pillar of Turkey’s economy, as it has contributed approximately 5% of the country’s GDP. Although international investors dominate the most lucrative parts of this sector, they remain vulnerable to the ongoing political decision-making of the ruling elite in Ankara. As a result, Turkey’s tourist sector has felt an impact from decisions such as Turkey’s military intervention in Syria, and the negative diplomatic consequences such actions have created.
The PSD is assessed to be among the most influential actors in state-owned military companies. Not only are there indications that it can influence the appointment of directors, but it has a hand in shaping decisions made throughout the defence sector itself. Although Romania remains somewhat accountable to international defence organisations of which it is a member-state, such as NATO, this has not precluded the amount of influence it has secured over national players.
The fear of losing power and being politically betrayed is motivating President Erdoğan to continue to accumulate influence, now beyond Ankara. After purging key government institutions in the aftermath of the failed 2016 coup, Erdoğan has now set his sites on municipalities, ensuring that loyalty extends beyond the borders of the capital.
Romania has been the target of public allegations suggesting that members of the government have illicitly benefited from EU funds through opaque schemes involving county councils and the Ministry of European Funds. Recent developments have further reinforced these concerns - often driven by the opacity that surrounds the distribution of EU funding.
The ongoing Turkish military operation in Afrin is elevating nationalist feelings in Turkey, spurred by its fight against Kurdish armed groups. Behind this rhetoric, President Erdoğan is further legitimising legal reforms; arguably reinforcing his ability to exert influence - and ostensibly control - the country' defence industry. As his fingerprint is established over the defence sector, this industry joins the many others that are being utilised to distribute resources to loyalists.
Opacity surrounding how EU agricultural funds are distribiuted in Bulgaria is feeding allegations that state officials in the country’s main agriculture state agency and in the Ministry of Agriculture personally benefit from their position. It is believed that these officials distribute EU funds to loyal landowners in exchange for a de facto kick-back.
Turkey’s banking sector is crucial to the success of the AKP and President Erdogan. Although the sector itself primarily functions independently of government interference; there are growing concerns that it is becoming increasingly exposed to informal mechanisms of political influence. This is a summary of a report available in the Shadow Governance Intel Store, that looks at how political exposure plays out in Turkey’s banks, and assesses the repercussions this can have on the future viability and reputation of the sector going forward.
2018 may become one of the most difficult years for Serbia's autocratic ruler, Aleksandar Vučić. In the sixth season of his self-created political monodrama, Vučić will have to navigate two evils: the de-facto recognition of Kosovo and further distancing itself from Russia, which will inevitably provoke a furious - and potentially dangerous - response from the clero-nationalist opposition and possibly Russia itself.
A series of anti-terrorist laws proposed by Romania’s President Iohannis appear to be empowering the already controversial and powerful SRI, in part by making it even less accountable to the judiciary. While terrorism has been a national security concern since the 1990s, these reforms are officially being driven by concerns about ISIS and an emerging refugee phenomena.
There are indications that Turkey’s AKP is utilising the private security sector to reinforce their influence over state security institutions. The desire to exert influence throughout Turkey’s security apparatus is ostensibly driven by the emerging paranoia that the AKP is being faced with internal challengers. Manipulating private security to monitor and/or control state security structures will erode democratic accountability.
Several international factors could plausibly directly impact the security and political stability of Emerging Europe in 2018. International interference of new state actors, and the possibility of a “return effect” of ISIS militants to the Balkans, can further destabilise a region already seen to have the seeds of instability.
Although the current economic standing of Belgrade’s Airport is good, the Vučić government is - yet again - close to endangering one of the most important state assets. Previous regional examples reveal how governments, for political purposes, have privatised state assets to the detriment of public coffers, and the case of Belgrade Airport could easily follow this path.