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Erdoğan replaces 2 finance officials ahead of CB’s rate decision

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has replaced two deputy finance ministers as part of his latest policymaker reshuffle ahead of today’s interest rate decision by the country’s central bank, local media reported on Thursday.

The move comes while the Turkish lira, which has lost half its value since the beginning of 2021, continues to fall to record lows, and soaring inflation chips away at the support base of Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

A decree published in the Official Gazette on Thursday said the president removed Şakir Ercan Gül and Mehmet Hamdi Yıldırım and appointed Mahmut Gürcan and Yunus Elitaş as new deputy finance ministers.

He also removed Abdullah Bayazıt and Ahmet Yalçın Yalçınkaya, other senior officials in charge of public financing, and economic programs and research, respectively.

Following Erdoğan’s reshuffle, the lira hit a fresh all-time low against the US dollar, trading at 15.16726 at 7:51 am CET, after hitting a record 15.30425 earlier in the day.

Despite the sharp depreciation of the lira, Erdoğan remains insistent that the country stick with low interest rates in line with his unorthodox belief that high interest rates cause high inflation, which goes against conventional economic thinking.

Under pressure from Erdoğan, who has sacked three governors since 2019, the central bank has made a series of rate cuts since September, defying inflation that hovers at more than four times the targeted 5 percent and driving the lira to record lows.

The currency has shed 30 percent of its value in the last month alone.

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