Turkey's observers were focused on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last week as he championed a new midterm economic plan — a stark departure from prior policies contributing to a historic currency crisis.
While this shift is a potential solution to Turkey's economic woes, it faces immediate challenges such as surging inflation and rising unemployment.
While Turkey envisions a brighter economic future, Syrians in northwestern Syria who adopted the Turkish lira in their daily transactions in 2020 face a drastically different outlook.
In a landscape marked by underfunded and isolated de facto authorities, Syrians living there have been left to deal with the consequences of the Turkish lira's devaluation on their own.
Consequently, they grapple with whether they can endure the economic challenges long enough to witness potential medium to long-term improvements in the Turkish lira.
Switch to Turkish lira
In June 2020, authorities in northwest Syria just across the Turkish border adopted the Turkish lira to protect their purchasing power in response to the sharp depreciation of the Syrian lira. This devaluation — partly driven by financial turmoil in Lebanon — led to a staggering 70% drop in the Syrian currency within weeks.
The decision to switch to the Turkish lira stemmed from several factors, including its relative stability, increased reliance on Turkish imports in the region, and the growing use of the lira in everyday transactions.
However, the Turkish lira faced continuous depreciation against the US dollar starting in 2021. It entered a period of significant turbulence, with fluctuations that saw it drop from 8.6 to $1 in June 2020 when it was initially adopted in northwest Syria, to 26.8 to $1.
Inflation in Turkey has already led to profound price increases in northwest Syria, with frequent record-breaking spikes. The impact of the Turkish lira depreciation extended beyond imported goods, affecting locally produced items like olive oil and bulgur.