Turkey reacts to growing currency crisis

While opposition leaders convene urgent economy meetings, people hit streets in small marches in major cities last night after Erdoğan’s declaration “Economic War of Independence” further depreciated the Turkish Lira. Marches blocked by police barricades, Taksim square closed. (Photo: Twitter)

After the rapid depreciation of the Turkish Lira, the opposition parties held urgent meetings repeated their call for a common economy plan and early elections. There were minor marches in big cities of Turkey like İstanbul, Ankara, İzmir and Kocaeli where people asked government to resign. The marches faced police barriers and intervention as Istanbul’s Taksim square was closed. Some banks and companies suspended their operations. 

The depreciation of the Turkish Lira continued after the Central Bank’s decision to cut interest rates. Following President Tayyip Erdoğan’s declaration of “economic war of independence” at the AKP Group meeting on Nov. 23, attributing exchange rate fluctuations to external factors, 1 US Dollars rised to 13.50 Turkish Liras and the daily depreciation of TL approached 20 percent. Turkish Lira became the currency that lost the most value among developing countries.

Opposition parties took action

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu announced that he canceled his programs for Nov. 24, and that he will convene the CHP administration in an extraordinary meeting. He also convened their economy desk on Nov. 23 night, evaluating the situation in a 2,5 hours meeting. 

IYI Party Leader Meral Akşener also met with the economic staff of her party in an emergency meeting. Speaking at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Akşener repeated his call for early elections by saying, “The winds of panic started to blow in Beştepe, the way was seen for Erdoğan.”

Future Party Chairman Ahmet Davutoğlu visited CHP Leader Kılıçdaroğlu and Welfare Again Party (Yeniden Refah Partisi) leader Fatih Erbakan. Making a statement after the CHP visit, Davutoğlu said, “I call on the government; Do not continue on this wrong path any longer.”

DEVA Party leader Ali Babacan also indicated that Erdogan’s declaration of the “Economic Independence War” was a “deception”. 

Selahattin Demirtaş, the imprisoned former co-chair of the HDP, called on the opposition parties to join forces. Demirtaş, on his Twitter account, asked the opposition leaders to force the government to hold elections with joint rallies in seven regions of Turkey.

Erdogan, on the other hand, repeated his statement that early elections are not on the agenda and will be held in 2023.

Left parties call government to resign

With the initiative of the Workers’ Party of Turkey, the Communist Party of Turkey and the left parties, the depreciation of the Turkish Lira and the economic management were protested in Ankara, Istanbul, Kocaeli and Izmir. Protesters called for the government to resign. The marches were blocked by the police. Istanbul Taksim square was closed with barricades. Security measures have been increased in Ankara.

Erdogan met CB Governor

President Tayyip Erdoğan met with the Central Bank Governor Şahap Kavcıoğlu. After the meeting, the Central Bank announced that it “has no commitment to the exchange rate level under the floating exchange rate regime”. In the statement, it was stated that the exchange rate movements stemmed from “unrealistic and unhealthy price formations of the markets, far from economic fundamentals”. After this statement, the depreciation of the Turkish lira did not stop.

Sales suspended

Some banks suspended their operations due to currency fluctuations, systems slowed down due to overload. Apple announced that it has stopped its sales in Turkey. Many news appeared in the media that foodstuffs such as flour, sugar, oil and tea were sold with certain quotas in the markets.

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