Er­do­gan Plans to Take Greater Con­trol of Econ­omy

Iran News - - INTERNATIONAL - Re­port­ing by Nevzat Devranoglu; Edit­ing by Daren But­ler and David Dolan

IS­TAN­BUL (Dis­patches) - Turkey’s Tayyip Er­do­gan said he plans to take greater con­trol of the econ­omy af­ter pres­i­den­tial elec­tions next month and the cen­tral bank will have to take note of what the pres­i­dent says and act ac­cord­ingly.

His com­ments helped pushed the ail­ing lira to a fresh record low of 4.3990 against the dol­lar, bring­ing its losses this year to more than 13 per­cent.

In an in­ter­view with Bloomberg Tele­vi­sion broad­cast on Tues­day, Er­do­gan said the cen­tral bank was in­de­pen­dent but it can­not ig­nore sig­nals from the head of the ex­ec­u­tive once the switch to a pres­i­den­tial sys­tem is com­plete.

“I will take the re­spon­si­bil­ity as the in­dis­putable head of the ex­ec­u­tive in re­spect of the steps to be taken and de­ci­sions on these is­sues,” he said in the in­ter­view, made dur­ing a visit to Bri­tain.

Turkey has called snap pres­i­den­tial and par­lia­men­tary elec­tions for June 24 and polls show Er­do­gan as the strong­est can­di­date to win the pres­i­den­tial vote. Turks nar­rowly backed a switch to an ex­ec­u­tive pres­i­dency in a ref­er­en­dum last year. That change is due to go into ef­fect af­ter June polls.

Er­do­gan said that cit­i­zens would ul­ti­mately hold the pres­i­dent re­spon­si­ble for any prob­lems gen­er­ated by mone­tary pol­icy.

“They will hold the pres­i­dent ac­count­able. Since they will ask the pres­i­dent about it, we have to give off the im­age of a pres­i­dent who is ef­fec­tive in mone­tary poli­cies,” he said.

“This may make some un­com­fort­able. But we have to do it. Be­cause it’s those who rule the state who are ac­count­able to the cit­i­zens,” he added.

Er­do­gan is a fierce critic of high in­ter­est rates, seek­ing lower bor­row­ing costs to boost the econ­omy. On Fri­day called them the “mother and fa­ther of all evil”. In the in­ter­view, he re­it­er­ated his view that high in­ter­est rates cause in­fla­tion. “The in­ter­est rate is the cause and in­fla­tion is the re­sult. The lower the in­ter­est rate is, the lower in­fla­tion will be,” he said. Er­do­gan also said that Halk­bank ex­ec­u­tive Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who was found guilty by a U.S. court of help­ing Iran evade U.S. sanc­tions, was in­no­cent and Turkey wanted his ac­quit­tal.

“If Hakan Atilla is go­ing to be de­clared a crim­i­nal, that would be al­most equiv­a­lent to declar­ing the Turk­ish Repub­lic a crim­i­nal,” he said.

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