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Turkey’s finance minister says ‘Look into my eyes’ for data on new economic plan

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Turkey’s Treasury and Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati has been ridiculed on social media for asking a reporter to look into his eyes and tell him what she saw when asked during an interview to provide information on the country’s new economic plan, local media reported on Wednesday.

“The statistics are so good. Look into my eyes, Ms. Gülçin. What do you see?” the minister said in answer to a question by news anchor Gülçin Üstün Can regarding data on the country’s recently announced economy plan during an interview on the state-run TRT Haber.

“I see that happiness there, but the economy is about the numbers,” Can said after the minister failed to share any statistical data for Turkey’s new economic measures, which aim to curb the lira’s depreciation and were announced by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday.

“[You say], ‘Economy is about the numbers,’ economy is about the wishes … the trust … the stability … the expectation. The economy is the sparkle in the eyes. My friends see the sparkle in my eyes,” the minister responded, attracting ridicule on social media.

“I see my credit card debt [in his eyes],” a Twitter user said, while another tweeted: “80 percent of the economy is [based on] perception, which means [building] trust! Is this man’s attitude reassuring in any way?”

The emergency plan unveiled by Erdoğan stipulates that the country’s treasury will make up for losses incurred by holders of lira deposits should the lira’s declines against hard currencies exceed bank interest rates.

The instrument will apply for individuals holding lira deposit accounts with maturities between three and 12 months. The minimum interest rate will be the central bank’s benchmark rate, and no withholding tax will be implemented.

The measure aims to attract people who hold deposits in foreign currencies to switch to the lira, which would help the Turkish currency curb losses.

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