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Turkey’s economy minister losing ground: poll

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Support for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s finance and treasury minister, Berat Albayrak, son-in-law of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has plummeted to 4.9 percent, an opinion poll revealed on Wednesday.

The survey was conducted by MetroPoll measuring public sentiment on a variety of topics during the month of September, when the Turkish lira hit a series of record lows against the US dollar, trading at one point at an all-time low of 7.8 to the dollar.

In response to the question of “Who would be the best figure to lead the economy in the country?” participants ranked Erdoğan the best person, with 21.5 percent, for economy management. Erdoğan has been ruling the country for 18 years.

Mansur Yavaş, mayor of the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), came second in the survey, with 6.5 percent. Before resigning from AKP ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Yavaş had twice served as mayor of Ankara’s Beypazarı district between 1999 and 2009. Last March, Yavaş won the local elections in Ankara by nearly 2 percent over his AKP-MHP-backed rival.

A total of 5.7 percent of voters would support the economic management of Ali Babacan, a former AKP economy minister. Once Erdogan’s economy chief, Babacan launched his long-awaited Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) in March, eight months after he resigned from Erdoğan’s AKP.

Criticizing a new economy program presented by Albayrak on September 29, Babacan the economy package was officially declaring that Turkey had become impoverished over the years since he left the economy administration in 2015.

On October 6 another opposition party leader also criticized the new economy program and the minister’s remarks on exchange rates.

“The Turkish economy is not the playdough of Erdoğan’s son-in-law [Albayrak]. [And] the Turkish Republic is not your guinea pig [trial and error]. [How] can a treasury and finance minister of a country say that he does not look at exchange rates? For heaven’s sake! Mr. [Albayrak], what are you looking at?” said Meral Akşener, leader of the opposition Good Party (İYİ) when speaking at a parliamentary group meeting.

Ekrem Imamoğlu, mayor of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality from the CHP, received only 3.4 percent support in the poll, one position behind Minister Albayrak. Imamoğlu was a popular figure among opposition circles in the country when he assumed office in June of last year.

A total of 46.2 percent of respondents said they had no idea or didn’t respond to the question of who would best run the Turkish economy.
Dissatisfaction among the Turkish public with Albayrak seems to have increased after remarks he made on exchange rates.

On September 29 Albayrak said he did not care about exchange rates and so did not follow them, while the Turkish lira was plumbing new depths.

“For me, exchange rates are not important at all. [So] I don’t look at them. Industry is strong and production is strong. The exchange rate is now in our hands. We will be the ones who will profit the most in this foreign exchange rate process as we now have control of the exchange rate,” the minister said, answering a journalist’s question after the presentation of the three-year economy program for 2021-2023.

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