By  on September 18, 2007

ISTANBUL — A four-month crisis over the election of Turkey's next president kept political and economic issues as heated as the record summer temperatures here.

The turmoil has touched all aspects of Turkey's economy, the apparel sector included, as domestic customers took the lead in reduced spending over lack of confidence in the government.

The government, which had been doing well economically, had to call early elections to thwart stymieing tactics from the military and judiciary political opposition suspicious of the presidential candidate for his disavowed political Islamist past.

The stock market wobbled, the Turkish lira occasionally teetered and interest rates rose slightly, but it is a testimony to Turkey's improving economy that the fallout was so little in a country where just six years ago the incident of the president hurling a copy of the constitution at the prime minister sparked a severe economic crisis.

In July, the incumbent party won a landslide election, showing the public faith in strong numbers and a steady hand rather than likely unfounded scare stories about rising Islamic influence. Its presidential candidate, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül, was elected in August, putting a lid on the summer of turmoil.

However, the lingering uncertainty has soured the business climate.

"People don't react as dramatically as before, but there has been a noticeable drop in orders as people refrained from taking a position while the picture was unclear,' said Banu Payasli, public relations manager at Altinyildiz Textiles, which has a profile of domestic and international clients. "Now there is a tentative return to normality, but people are taking very slow steps just to make sure we are not plunging back into uncertainty again."

This was particularly true of the domestic sector, where the atmosphere and remote fears that the military might attempt to dislodge its fifth government since 1960 were felt the most. The political crisis, although couched in the terms of Islamism versus state secularism, had become a battleground over the right to run the country.

Cem Boyner, head of Boyner Holding, which includes the upscale department store Beymen and the more moderate-priced Boyner chain, said the psychological effect of the crisis had affected his businesses, if temporarily.

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