Turkey is bailing out Iran and Arab Spring countries with huge amounts of gold exports that have boosted its trade balance.
Iran and countries facing Arab Spring rebellions have bought hundreds of millions of dollars worth of gold from Turkey as they try to protect their wealth from depreciating currencies. The Iranian rial has plummeted following tighter sanctions posed by the United States.
Turkey’s exports of gold, jewelry and precious metals to Iran jumped last month by more than 35 times than in March 2011, reaching $480 million, according to statistics reported by Bloomberg.
Its balance of trade this year has improved by $4.3 billion, partly due to the gold exports, a research company told Balkan.com.
Turkey’s assistance to Iran is in direct opposition to the Obama administration’s efforts to punish the Iranian economy, dependent on oil exports, until it cooperates with the United Nations and allow full inspections of its nuclear facilities.
So far this year, Turkey has exported more than $1 billion in gold and precious metals, and Bloomberg reported that an Istanbul Gold Exchange official estimates the government has nearly 5,000 tons of gold – worth $265 billion – “stashed under their pillows.”