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28 Mar, 2019 14:47

Erdogan accuses US of undermining Turkish economy ahead of elections

Erdogan accuses US of undermining Turkish economy ahead of elections

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the West, particularly the United States, of manipulating its national currency rates as the country gears up for elections this weekend.

The lira slid nearly six percent last Friday, prompting Erdogan to call for a crackdown on market “manipulations” and Turkish regulators to open a probe into investment banks.

After recovering losses early this week, the lira fell again by around five percent on Thursday to 5.59 against the US dollar. Last year, the currency collapsed 30 percent after the United States imposed sanctions and increased tariffs on some Turkish products.

Erdogan said the currency fluctuations are part of a plot by the West to “corner Turkey, particularly by the US.” He said Turkey needed to “discipline speculators in the market,” adding that the alleged interventions would not succeed.

READ MORE: Putin vows to launch first Russian-built nuclear plant in Turkey in 2023

Turkey’s central bank figures showed a dramatic $10 billion decrease in the country’s foreign reserves in the first three weeks of March to 142 billion lira ($24.7 billion). The bank’s governor Murat Cetinkaya said the regulator continues to implement its reserve-building policy.

“Although reserves may fluctuate due to periodic factors, there has been a consistent uptrend in reserves in the medium term,” Cetinkaya said. “Over the last week, our gross reserves have increased across all items by $4.3 billion and by March 27 reached $96.7 billion. During the same period, our net reserves also rose $2.4 billion to $28.6 billion,” he added.

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