Erdogan doesn’t care if Turkey gets junk credit rating

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan © Eduardo Munoz
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he is not concerned if American rating agencies like Fitch, S&P or Moody’s downgrade his country to junk status. Erdogan told Bloomberg that Turkey's economy is strong and the ratings are biased.

“I don’t care at all, they’re making mistakes and they’re doing it intentionally. Whether you’re honest or not, Turkey’s economy is strong,” the Turkish leader said in an interview on Thursday.

After the failed military coup in Turkey on July 15, S&P slashed the country’s rating to BB, two notches below investment grade. In August, another US rating agency, Fitch, kept Turkey’s rating at BBB-, or the lowest investment grade, but downgraded the outlook from stable to negative. Moody’s announced on July 18 that Turkey may face a rating cut within 90 days.

Erdogan said the ratings are politically biased. “They’re praising economies that have collapsed, that are finished, on the other hand, they’re either freezing or going towards cutting a country that’s standing on its feet, that’s upright, and where investments are continuing,” he told the media.

“This is not a respectable stance. I’m inviting them to be honest,” he added.

The Turkish president also urged his country's central bank to continue cutting the key rate to attract more investment. On Thursday, the regulator reduced the rate to 8.25 percent, marking the seventh straight month of cuts. Inflation in Turkey is at eight percent this year, slightly down from 2015.

“You can only talk about development in a country where there’s investment. But when interest rates are high, it’s not possible to invest,” said Erdogan.