The Turkish lira is in free fall, Erdogan vows to win in the “economic war”

The Turkish lira suffered one of the worst days since the currency crisis three years ago, after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan praised the recent interest rate cut and announced that his country is fighting a “war of economic independence.”

After Erdogan used a combative speech to elaborate on his vision for the country’s economy, the currency, which has fallen by nearly 40% against the U.S. dollar this year, plummeted by 8.8%, breaking the symbolic threshold of 12 U.S. dollars against the U.S. dollar.

In the worst-case scenario, the drop in the lira on Tuesday was the biggest drop that the country has suffered since the currency crisis in August 2018. In recent transactions, its decline has been reduced to around 7%.

“It’s like a horror movie,” said Enver Erkan, an analyst at Istanbul-based Terra Investment, adding that given that policymakers seem willing to let it devalue, it’s hard to say that the currency will How much further down.

Erdogan, a lifelong opponent of high interest rates, said in a speech on Monday night that he was “very happy” with the central bank. Cut interest rates Although economists warned that this would trigger inflation that is already running at an annual growth rate of 20% and further destabilize the currency, this happened last week for the third consecutive month.

Erdogan portrayed a dark global conspiracy aimed at conquering Turkey. He said that the country will not succumb to economists, “opportunists” and “global financial acrobats” who call for interest rate hikes.

He said the government is prioritizing growth to encourage investment, production, exports and employment. “That’s why we ignore the clamor of doomsdayists,” he said.

He compared this struggle with the struggle between the country and foreign occupiers after the First World War, and finally established the modern Republic of Turkey in 1923. “With God’s help and the support of our people, we will rise to victory from this economic independence war,” he said.

Turkey’s central bank faced increasing presidential intervention last month Trying to argue The interest rate cut will help stabilize the plummeting currency and soaring inflation by eliminating the country’s long-standing current account deficit.

Economists warned that this logic was flawed and stated that in a country that relies heavily on imported energy and raw materials, allowing the lira to spiral upward could lead to hyperinflation.

At a time when Erdogan is already facing public anger over the rising cost of basic commodities, the sharp decline in currency may also further erode living standards.

A Turkish banker described the lira’s decline as a “currency shock triggered by policymakers” actively chosen by the government. “The choice is clear,” he said. “They are just implementing their strategy now. This is a new approach.”

Semih Tumen, former deputy governor of the central bank, among several senior officials last month Be fired For the first time since his dismissal, the president gave a public speech, because the currency plummeted, calling on the government to “abandon this irrational experiment that had no chance of success.”

He wrote on Twitter: “We need to immediately restore high-quality policies to protect the value of the lira and the well-being of the Turkish people.”

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