Weak Turkish Lira: SBK priceless in Istanbul

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After Toprak Razgatlioglu won the title, there were high hopes of bringing the Superbike World Championship back to Istanbul in 2022. But because the Turkish lira was at a record low in December, the topic is off the table.

On November 21, 2021 Toprak Razgatlioglu became the first Turkish Superbike World Champion at the SBK finals on Lombok. His manager, mentor and friend Kenan Sofuoglu, himself a five-time champion in the Supersport category, was in good spirits at the time that he could bring the Superbike World Championship back to the delightful Istanbul Park Circuit with the success of Toprak.

The slope designed by Hermann Tilke is breathtakingly beautiful, oriental flair meets high-tech. But SBK first made a guest appearance there, that was in 2013. A good 50,000 Turkish fans had come to see Sofuoglu win the Supersport race – he did not disappoint. The atmosphere during the race and at the award ceremony gave you goose bumps, something you don’t experience every day.

Razgatlioglu also wants a home race, Sofuoglu as a member of the Turkish parliament for President Erdogan’s party has the necessary political connections.

But although from a sporting point of view it would be the right time to return to Istanbul, nothing will happen in 2022.

“The Turkish lira has great currency fluctuations, which makes investments difficult,” Sofuoglu told SPEEDWEEK.com. “You need a really big budget to bring the races to Turkey. I have therefore refrained from presenting my ideas to the Turkish government because I know that they are planning other investments. Therefore there is no chance of an SBK event in Turkey next season. “

The euro will be 20 years old on January 1, 2022. If you look at the development of the Turkish lira since then, it has steadily depreciated against the euro over the long term. The currency peaked in 2006, when you had to pay 1.57 lira for one euro. The low was reached on December 20, 2021, when 1 euro cost 20.04 lira for a short time. In December the rate fluctuated between 12.65 and 20.04, under such conditions costs are incalculable. Because Turkey concludes most international contracts in euros or US dollars.

Financial experts blame Erdogan for the misery. The Turkish president is betting on a weak lira and wants to strengthen exports because foreign countries can then buy goods cheaply in Turkey. But that means that imports are becoming more expensive. In addition, there is the growing inflation, which contributes to the ever increasing cost of living in Turkey.

Erdogan equates the weak domestic currency with economic growth. In fact, Turkey is currently achieving growth rates of astonishing six to nine percent, but the growth is bought at a high price, say experts. Nobel laureate for economics Paul Krugman warned years ago that the Turkish economy was getting into a «death spiral» with current politics.

Excluding Turkey, the provisional calendar for the 2022 Superbike World Championship only includes twelve events, including Phillip Island. Jerez is available as a replacement and will probably move up as 13 events are planned.

Provisional calendar Superbike World Championship 2022:

08-10 April: Aragón / Spain
22.-24. April: Assen / Netherlands
20.-22. May: Estoril / Portugal
10-12 June: Misano / Italy
15-17 July: Donington Park / Great Britain *
29.-31. July: Most / Czech Republic
09-11 September: Magny-Cours / France
23-25 September: Barcelona / Spain
07-09 October: Portimao / Portugal
21-23 October: San Juan / Argentina *
11-13 November: Mandalika / Indonesia *
still open: Phillip Island / Australia *

* without Supersport World Championship 300

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