Erdoğan: Currency speculators trying to bring down Turkish economy
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has claimed Turkey’s struggling economy is under attack from foreign exchange speculators, while also praising citizens who have converted their foreign currencies into liras.
“They are trying to destroy our economy through foreign exchange speculation. Are there no problems with our economy? Yes, there are. But our government has been taking the required measures and will continue to do so,” Erdoğan said in a speech to neighborhood leaders in the presidential palace in Ankara on Dec. 7.
He noted that he saw “no economic reason” for the Turkish Lira’s recent plunge, after the lira lost as much as one fifth of its value against the U.S. dollar this year before rebounding slightly on Dec. 6.
Casting recent weakness in the Turkish currency as a plot by outside powers to destroy the economy, Erdoğan has repeatedly called for Turkish citizens to convert any dollars under their mattresses into liras or gold, while urging businesses to conduct more transactions in the local currency.
“We have called on our citizens to convert their foreign currencies under the mattress into liras or gold, in order to give a proper answer to those trying to put us under currency pressure by printing unbacked money,” he said.
“If you love this country, if you love this people, my friend, you should switch to the lira,” Erdoğan added.
He also compared Turkey’s ongoing military operation in northern Syria to citizens’ “efforts to stop forex speculation.”
“When Turkey makes serious moves in Syria and Iraq, takes important decisions about the EU, and transitions to the presidential system, economic weapons are directed at us once again. But our people have seen this game … They have flocked to convert their foreign currency into liras. I want to thank to my people. I believe they will maintain their determination on this issue,” he said.
The president’s first call on Dec. 3 for Turkish citizens to convert their foreign exchange into liras or gold has triggered campaigns across the country, while a number of public and private institutions have announced measures to prop up the lira in a bid to support the struggling currency.