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Ex-finance minister, blamed for worsening Turkish economy, spotted vacationing in Paris

Former Finance Minister of Turkey Berat Al

As the Turkish lira sank to a record low against the US dollar on Thursday, the country’s former finance minister and son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, among the people blamed for the worsening of the economy, was spotted in Paris vacationing with his family.

In a surprise move in November 2020, Berat Albayrak stepped down citing health reasons, in a statement on Instagram. His resignation was accepted by Erdoğan after hours of silence from the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and pro-government media outlets.

He has only made rare appearances in public since then. Albayrak, who was appointed finance minister in 2018, has frequently been blamed for the deterioration of the Turkish economy as a decline in the value of the Turkish lira, nearly 30 percent in 2020, led to higher inflation via imports priced in hard currencies.

“Look who my friend ran into while walking around Paris. Berat Albayrak, who used ask, ‘Are you getting your salary in dollars? Do you have any debt in dollars?’ is now crushing euros in the streets of Paris. And people are wondering how they’ll make ends meet at the end of the month,” lawyer Enes Kabadayı tweeted on Thursday.

The lawyer also posted several photos of Albayrak showing him with his family in front of Sacré-Coeur, a famous Paris landmark.

Albayrak attracted widespread criticism in August 2020 when he was asked by a journalist during a televised interview whether people should be concerned about the Turkish lira weakening against the US dollar, because he answered the question by asking the journalist whether he was getting his salary in dollars or had any debt in dollars.

In a controversial move, Turkey’s central bank on Thursday cut its policy rate from 16 to 15 percent despite rising inflation and a fast-depreciating currency, prompting the beleaguered lira, the worst performing emerging market currency in 2021, to sink to an all-time low of 11.30 to the dollar.

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