Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is attempting to conceal from the public the arrival of $6.4 billion in funds requested from the International Monetary Fund to bolster the country’s foreign exchange reserves, the country’s main opposition party said.
The IMF is providing Turkey with $6.4 billion worth of special drawing rights, an international reserve asset that may be converted into foreign currency. The capital is part of a $650 billion global injection of funds by the IMF to help stabilise the global economy following the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Tuesday, Erdoğan said Turkey’s gross reserves would increase to more than $115 billion from $109 billion once certain “processes are completed”. He did not provide further details in the televised speech, which he used to outline the government’s economic successes.
“What is the process to be completed? Who are you afraid of? Are you ashamed of saying “we are getting money” today from an IMF that you used to flaunt about saying “they asked us for money” yesterday?” said Faik Öztrak, deputy head of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), in a news conference on Wednesday, according to local media including the Sözcü newspaper.
Turkey spent tens of billions of dollars of its foreign currency reserves last year to defend the lira and help out debt-ridden companies. The spending spree has left the central bank’s net reserves, including liabilities such as currency swaps, deeply in negative territory.
Erdoğan’s government has “wasted the reserves for nothing and they have evaporated”, Öztrak said. But now, instead of being ashamed, the president is trying to show off by citing the country’s gross reserves while asking for IMF cash, he said.