Erdoğan calls int’l credit rating agencies ‘fraudsters,’ says currency crisis will pass

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PHOTO: AFP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday called international credit rating agencies “fraudsters” while promising his supporters that “this too shall pass,” referring to an ongoing currency crisis in the country, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.

The Turkish lira plunged this week to 6.60 against the US dollar from below 6 during Eid al-Adha last week, when markets were closed over the one week holiday.

The country has been struggling to increase the lira’s value against foreign currencies, while it has lost almost 50 percent of its value since the beginning of this year.

“Some say that credit rating agencies say this or that. … Forget those fraudsters. They say a lot of things about us,” Erdoğan said, addressing locals in the western province of Balıkesir after the Friday prayer. “These firms are those that increased ratings of states facing bankruptcy four notches at once. They are such a [crime] syndicate.”

His comments came after ratings agency Fitch, which downgraded 24 Turkish banks last month, said on Thursday the 25 percent fall in the Turkish lira since then had heightened risks and could lead to further rating cuts.

Earlier on Friday, the Turkish president addressed newly graduated military cadets in Balıkesir, where he said: “Turkey will cope with this attack. For those who ask about foreign exchange rates, our answer is: This too shall pass.”

Hours before, Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said rating agencies have been putting in intense efforts to create a pessimistic view of Turkey’s banks.

Fitch’s warning came two days after Moody’s downgraded its ratings on 20 Turkish financial institutions, citing the increased risk of a deterioration in funding. The operating environment is now worse than previously expected, it said.

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