Troubles in economy stem from manipulation, cannot be described as crisis: Erdoğan

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The Turkish economy’s recent troubles are the result of manipulation and cannot be described as a crisis, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.

In a speech on Sept. 13, he also said Turkey was “on the side of the free market economy” and would not deviate from that free market framework, while making clear that he was in overall control.

Saying that what is happening today in the economy does not resemble Turkey’s 1994 or 2001 crises, Erdoğan noted: “What is happening today in our economy is not a crisis, but only manipulation. Such manipulative attacks are connected to outside of our country. These days will pass.”

“The past two crises were the results of Turkey’s own dynamics. Today there is no problem with Turkey’s own dynamics,” he said at a meeting of the Confederation of TurkishTradesmen and Craftsmen (TESK).

Erdoğan, who has described the lira depreciation as an economic war, noted that the government was on the side of the free market economy.

“Whatever the reason behind the current problems, we are determined to resolve them within the principles of the free market economy,” he said, adding that the economy administration was working day and night to achieve this key goal under the coordination of himself as the country’s president.

The currency has lost 40 percent of its value against the dollar this year, hit by concerns about the Central Bank’s independence and more recently by a diplomatic spat between Turkey and the United States over a U.S. pastor who is being tried in Turkey.

‘Sensitivities on interest rates’

Erdoğan also reiterated his criticism on Turkey’s Central Bank for taking “wrong steps” over inflation and his opposition to high interest rates, shortly before the bank was due to announce its rate decision.

“If you say inflation is the cause and interest rates are the result, you do not know this business,” Erdoğan said, adding that he had not once seen the bank correctly forecast inflation.

“We’ve been in this business for 16 years. Will we not learn? You may determine interest rates, but inflation is a result of the wrong steps you [the Central Bank] have taken,” he said.

“And who pays the price? The people,” the president said.

“There has been no change in my sensitivities on the issue of interest rates,” he noted. “The Central Bank is independent and makes its own decisions.”

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