Turkish firms tumble after social unrest

Michael Bow
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TRADERS sent Turkish stocks tumbling by the biggest margin in ten years yesterday as concerns about political stability in the country caused a sell-off in listed firms.

The Mediterranean state, a key emerging market for yield-hungry UK stock pickers, saw its main index the Borsa Istanbul 100 close down 10.5 per cent, due to concerns about widespread social unrest sweeping the country.

The double digit drop is the biggest since March 2003 and comes hot on the heels of a recent bullish run for Turkish equities, which have increased about 90 per cent over the past 18 months.

The Turkish capital Istanbul has been rocked by anti-government protests over the past four days over concerns of creeping authoritarianism by the government of current Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The lira also fell to a 16-month low against the dollar yesterday and Turkish yields surged by a record 71 percentage points to hit 6.78 per cent on investor worries about the future of the country.

Last night protestors continued to gather in Taksim Square in Istanbul, which has been the focal point of the protests so far.