Erdoğan urges Turks to put gold, foreign currency in banks to help economy

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday called on citizens of Turkey to put any foreign currency or gold they keep at home in banks to help boost the economy, during a speech at his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s 7th Ordinary Grand Congress in Ankara.

“Don’t pay attention to those in Turkey who get into a contest of defaming their own country by saying, ‘Our economy is ruined, we are done, we are doomed.’ … I want my citizens to invest their gold and foreign currency holdings at home in various financial instruments so that they can benefit our economy and production,” he said, echoing a call he made during a currency crisis in 2018.

The president also urged foreign investors who invest in Turkey to trust the country’s power and potential.

“The fluctuations of the past few days most definitely do not reflect the fundamentals of Turkey’s economy, its real dynamics, its potential or its tomorrow,” he said.

Erdoğan’s calls came in the aftermath of firing his third central bank governor in less than two years and causing a market upheaval that resulted in the Turkish currency plunging by as much as 14 percent this week.

Erdoğan last week dismissed central bank governor Naci Ağbal, who had only been in the position since November and had raised investor confidence and shored up the Turkish currency following a series of interest hikes.

Erdoğan, who subscribes to the unconventional theory that high rates cause inflation rather than acting as a brake, replaced Ağbal with Şahap Kavcıoğlu, a former ruling party lawmaker who has argued for lower rates, in line with the president’s economic thinking.

The president continued his conciliatory rhetoric during Wednesday’s congress as part of his intention to reach out to foreign countries in an attempt to patch troubled relations and attract investment.

“We will continue to shape our relationships with every country from the United States to Russia, from the European Union to the Arab geography in line with Turkey’s interests and our people’s expectations. As a country located at the crossroads of Africa, Asia and Europe, we do not have the luxury of turning our backs on either the East or the West,” he said.

Erdoğan wants to bring annual inflation to under 10 percent by the end of next year and to 5 percent by the time he is next scheduled to face an election in 2023.

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