Turkey will never make concessions regarding the free market economy, President RecepTayyip Erdoğan has said amid fluctuations in the Turkish Lira’s value against the U.S. dollar, describing the latest slip as an “economic siege that has no economic explanation.”
“In this process, we, as a country, had never made concessions regarding the free market economy and we certainly will not. No one should accredit hearsay indicating the opposite,” Erdoğan said on Aug. 13, speaking at 10th Ambassadors Conference in Ankara.
His comments came after the Turkish Lira hit historic lows against the U.S. dollar over the last week, losing more than a quarter of its value against foreign currencies in 2018.
“The current level of the currency has no economic explanation,” Erdoğan said, describing the situation as an “economic siege,” which “has nothing to do with the crisis of 1994, 2001 or 2007.”
“Turkey is facing a siege in the economy as it does in other fields. […] The developments in the currency rate have no economic base, on the contrary, it is the common understanding that it is totally an attack on our country,” he said.
He added that the Treasury and Finance Ministry and related institutions “have taken the necessary steps against all these attacks, and will continue to do so.”
“We have plans against all these cases,” he said.
“The Turkish economy’s dynamics are strong and well, and they will continue to be so. The reasonable level of the currency within the economic rules will be settled as soon as possible. Do not worry,” he said.
On Aug. 12, he had accused foreign countries of waging war on Turkey and said his government would respond with trade measures to reduce their reliance on the dollar and U.S. markets. Addressing business circles, he urged them “not to buy foreign currencies.”
“Do not force me to resort to plans B or C,” he said, in what was interpreted as a further move over an intervention in dollar-denominated bank accounts.
Erdoğan slams ‘speculators’
Meanwhile, Erdoğan harshly slammed those who interpreted his words as though the government was mulling controlling capital in banks as a precaution against the embattled lira.
“Have I ever said something like that? We will not pay credit to these. Those who are behind these speculations will pay the price of saying these,” Erdoğan said, calling it an “economic terror.”
“There are so many figures on social media associated with economic terror. They are at work. But our justice has taken measures against them. Our capital market board is also on it. We will impose necessary punishment when we catch them. All these are betrayal to the state,” he added.
US stabbed us in the back
Erdoğan slammed U.S. President Donald Trump’s move to double the tariffs on aluminum and steel, criticizing them of being arbitrary decisions against international regulations.
“Do [the steps taken by Trump] have any relation with the World Trade Organization’s principles?” he said.
“Regardless of whether you are a president or not, you cannot say that I am imposing extra tariffs on aluminum and steel. There should be a continuation. All countries are making calculations over this; they have taken steps over this. Will there be any trust left?” he added.
“On the one hand you are a strategic partner, on the other you shoot your partner in the foot and stab it in the back,” he said.
CHP extends support over economy
Meanwhile, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) extended its support to the Turkish government over the economic situation in Turkey, criticizing the U.S. tariffs.
“We believe that this has nothing to do with law and alliance. And we, as the CHP, are with our country and nation on this issue,” CHP spokesperson Faik Öztrak said on Aug. 13 after the party’s central executive board meeting, calling it “unacceptable.”is country is under an economic "siege" that has nothing to do with its economic indicators.