Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the head of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), called on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to prove his commitment to reducing interest rates in the country by helping farmers and tradesmen deal with exorbitantly high interest rates on their loans.
“You (Erdoğan) are saying that you will lower rates. Whose rates are you lowering? Did you lower interest rates for farmers?”, Kılıçdaroğlu said in a speech to members of his party at parliament on Tuesday.
The Agricultural Credit Cooperative is choking farmers with interest rates on loans of as high as 71 percent, he said.
On Tuesday, Erdoğan said there would be no turning back from a policy of cutting interest rates to lower inflation, reduce costs for businesses and to increase employment. The central bank has lowered borrowing costs to 15 percent from 19 percent since September even as inflation accelerated to almost 20 percent.
The unorthodox monetary policy has led to a slump in the value of the lira. The currency hit a record low of 13.96 per dollar on Tuesday, losing more than 8 percent of its value. It was trading down 0.1 percent at 13.48 per dollar at 11:17 a.m. on Wednesday. Losses for the lira this year total more than 40 percent.
Kılıçdaroğlu promised to reset all the interest debts of Turkish farmers and tradesmen when the CHP comes to power. Turkey is due to hold presidential and parliamentary elections by June 2023.