Erdoğan trades barbs with former ally Babacan over economy

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday traded barbs with his former ally, Ali Babacan, now the leader of the newly founded Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), over the economy.

Erdoğan claimed that when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) requested a $5 billion loan from Turkey, Babacan had sought his opinion.

“I said those who ask for money today will later take orders. Give them the money,” Erdoğan said after a cabinet meeting today. “Now, he has founded a party and lectures us [on the economy].”

Babacan has lately become one of the fiercest critics of the Erdoğan government’s poor performance on the economy.

Turkey’s lira weakened again on Monday after touching a record low last week, slipping 0.4 percent as the central bank continued to raise borrowing costs via backdoor channels and expectations grew for more decisive action to turn things around, Reuters reported.

The opposition parties are expecting the Erdoğan government to knock on the IMF’s door for financial support, according to the president, who sees the latest value losses of the lira as a foreign plot against his government, accusing global money managers of attempting to weaken the country’s economy to undermine his rule.

“No need to look elsewhere to cast blame, Turkey has been run very poorly,” Babacan said on Monday, referring to Erdoğan.

“When I handed over management of the economy, Turkey was so strong it could lend money to the IMF. But today, the government is asking for money from its citizens for pandemic relief,” Babacan added.

Erdoğan’s insistence on reducing interest rates has weakened the Turkish lira’s defense against foreign currencies, according to experts.

However, the president aims to ease the stagnation in the construction sector by providing cheap loans to home buyers.

“Without a change in government, Turkey’s problems cannot be solved,” Babacan said on Fox TV today, adding that his party would solve the economic problems in three months.

Turkiah Minute

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