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Erdogan targets 'traitors' undermining the lira

TURKISH President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused “traitors” today of accelerating the collapse of the lira and vowed that they would pay the price.

Mr Erdogan said unpatriotic Turks were spreading “economic terror” through social media accounts reporting on the currency’s plunge, which resulted in it falling further.

The Interior Ministry confirmed that it was opening investigations into 346 social media accounts “which posted content provoking the dollar exchange rate,” while the Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office said it was targeting “those who had taken actions which threatened economic stability.”

The Capital Markets Board of Turkey issued a similar warning to those who spread “lies, false or misleading information, news or analysis.”

The Turkish Central Bank has so far declined to raise interest rates, a standard way of slowing inflation. The lira has now dropped by 45 per cent against the dollar this year, with a further fall of 7 per cent yesterday following Friday’s disastrous 14 per cent drop.

The president has called on his fans to exchange dollars for rapidly depreciating lira to shore up the currency, but the response has not been enthusiastic.

He also took aim at the United States yesterday, saying tariffs it has doubled on Turkish aluminium and steel constituted an “economic siege” and a “stab in the back,” considering that the countries are Nato allies

The tariffs are a response to Ankara’s refusal to release US pastor Andrew Brunson, whom it accuses of having links to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen and the Kurdistan Workers Party.


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