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Top AKP politician says claims about state of emergency due to economic crisis ‘nonsense’

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Deputy Chairman of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Numan Kurtulmuş has slammed a claim about the declaration of a state of emergency due to an economic crisis, Turkish media outlets reported.

“It’s nonsense. Such a thing is out of the question, unthinkable. Nobody should even think about it,” Kurtulmuş said in televised remarks on Wednesday about the prospect of a state of emergency sparked by Turkey’s ongoing currency crisis.

He said Turkey has embraced the principles of a free market economy and that it is out of the question for it to deviate from those principles.

Under pressure from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to reduce borrowing costs to boost growth, the central bank has slashed the one-week repo rate by 400 basis points since September to 15 percent.

The embattled Turkish lira crashed last week and has continued this week to lose value against the dollar after a series of rate cuts by the central bank in spite of increasing inflation.

The prospect of an economic state of emergency was recently floated by İzzet Özgenç, a professor of economics, who called on Turks to get ready for a state of emergency (OHAL) in a tweet on Monday.

“The ongoing loss of value of the Turkish lira against foreign currency initiated a process that will lead to a serious economic crisis. We should be ready for a state of emergency that could be declared as a result of a devastating economic crisis that seems inevitable,” Özgenç tweeted.

As the basis for his suggestion, Özgenç referred to Article 119 of the Turkish Constitution which says the Cabinet can declare a state of emergency for six months in cases of environmental disasters, infectious diseases and economic crises.

Following criticism from the government, Özgenç issued a public apology on Wednesday, saying he was sorry if his remarks had caused any distress.

The last time Turkey declared a state of emergency was following a coup attempt in July 2016, which remained in effect for two years. The Turkish government pressed ahead with many controversial actions during the state of emergency, expelling more than 130,000 people from public service, closing down hundreds of media organizations and foundations and curbing liberties under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.

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