Turkish lira under pressure – Struggle between opposition and Erdogan over his son-in-law

رجب طيب أردوغان

Kemal Kilicdar, chairman of the leading Turkish opposition party CHP, called on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to dismiss Berat Albayrak, Minister of Treasury and Finance and son-in-law of Erdogan, from his position due to his lack of economic experience. “This is the best decision you could make. If you still love this nation and you do not want this nation to suffer, the first thing you must do is to dismiss your son-in-law from his position.” Kilicdar was quoted.

According to the Turkish newspaper „Zaman“, Kilicdar asserted that removing Albayrak from his position would be a relief for the country, as well as for the supporters of the AKP. He added, addressing directly the president, that “your high-class son-in-law has nothing to do with economy, you blame him and sometimes defend him. He knows nothing about the poor and lives in an ivory tower. Dismissing him from his post would be a relief to society”.

Sharp fall

Garo Paylan, Turkish MP for the HDP, accused Berat Albayrak of destroying the national economy since his tenure of office two years ago. Paylan wondered, if the “the minister will resign after he harmed the economy or not?” In a parliamentary questioning of the minister, Paylan stressed that since Albayrak’s appointment on July 10, 2018, the Turkish economy has been facing a sharp slump.

Furthermore, in terms of numbers, when Albayrak took office in 2018, the price of the US-dollar was 4.54 lira, the euro was 5.34 and a quarter of the gold lira was 304. However, this week, the US-currency rose to 7.30 lira, the euro surged to 8.70 and a quarter of gold lira rose to 800. „Our currency has lost its value. Moreover, the minimum wage was able to buy five of a quarter of a gold lira, but now this number has plunged to only three“, according to Paylan. “During your tenure in office, the citizens became poorer, unemployment rates increased, and the cost of living reached very high levels. You consumed the reserves of the Central Bank and state-owned institutes, while you throve your supporters with government resources.”

Pointless populist policies

With regard to the new parties, the Democratic Progress Party (DEVA), headed by Ali Babacan, has called on the government of his former AKP to pursue an economic reform plan away from the followed populist policies and the interference in the work of the Central Bank, which only achieved ineffective short-term results. The call has come after a major attack against Albayrak amid the plunge of the Turkish lira, while some ministers, especially those who are very close to President Erdogan and the family, have defended Berat. Nevertheless, Babacan said in a statement of his party, „the plummet of the Turkish lira against foreign currencies led to a drop in the purchasing capacity; hence we urge people for an action”.

In his statements about the suffocating economic crisis in the country, Babacan said that in times, when citizens lose confidence in the Turkish lira, they tend to convert their savings into alternative currencies, which make the crisis of the local currency collapse even worse, entering a dim tunnel without exit. Babacan blamed the leaders for it, stressing that the main reason of the economic crisis is the bad administration of the country. The measures that are far from trust and credibility, finding only daily solutions, have played an important role in the poor performance of the Turkish lira in recent years. On behalf of his party, Babacan presented an economic reform plan, based on “not interfering with the monetary policy of the Central Bank, providing reliable statistical data, and stopping populist policies.”

Erdogan clings to his son-in-law

Sources in the ruling AKP revealed that the President would be sticking to his son-in-law as Minister of Finance. Moreover, Former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who defected from AKP, revealed a few days ago that the Turkish lira has lost nearly 155% of its value since 2016. He added, “when the government took over in 2016, the dollar exchange rate was 2.85, while they are currently trying to keep it at an exchange rate of 7.30.”

Furthermore, economic analysts have warned earlier that the choices for Ankara to deal with the continuing surge in inflation and imports became very slim, in addition to the heavily depleted foreign currency reserves at the Turkish Central Bank, which incurred a lot while the country is handling with the Coronavirus pandemic.

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