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Turkish currency crisis looms as Erdogan appoints son-in-law as finance minister

A LOOMING currency crisis was feared today after authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appointed his son-in-law as finance minister.

Mr Erdogan, who was inaugurated on Monday as the country moved from a parliamentary system to an executive presidency, was accused of nepotism after he appointed Berat Albayrak to the senior government position.

Mr Erdogan also announced measures that would increase government control of the central bank, rattling investors.

Speaking at the presidential palace after taking the oath in parliament, Mr Erdogan said: "We are leaving behind the system that has in the past cost our country a heavy price in political and economic chaos.”

Mr Erdogan has kept interest rates low, believing it will keep down inflation. Meanwhile, political instability has led currency speculators to reduce the value of the Turkish lira.

The appointment of Mr Albayrak has proved controversial due to long-standing allegations of his close links to Powertrans, the company implicated in Isis oil imports.

In December, Wikileaks published 57,000 emails dating from April 2000 to September 23 2016, which allegedly showed that his involvement with the company started in 2012, when the government awarded Powertrans the sole rights to transport oil into the country without holding a public tender.

The company was accused by Turkish media in 2014 and 2015 of mixing in oil produced by Isis in Syria and adding it to shipments which arrived into Turkey.

Mr Albayarak, who commentators say is being groomed as Mr Erdogan’s successor, has continuously denied the allegations.


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