(Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said anyone opposing interest rates cuts was guilty of treason, piling more political pressure on the central bank.
Governor Erdem Basci on Friday dismissed rumors that Erdogan’s criticisms of the central bank for not cutting rates swiftly enough would force him to resign.
On Saturday, the president stepped up his rhetoric: “There is a very serous threat from the interest-rate lobby,” he told a news conference broadcast live on NTV.
“Anyone who defends this (high rates) is at the beck and call of the interest-rate lobby, this is treason against this nation.”
Erdogan’s criticisms of monetary policy are a concern to investors who fear the central bank could lose its independence, speculation that has helped push the lira to record lows.
The president believes current rates are impeding economic growth, which could dent his party’s support as it heads into a general election in June…
Note: This is part of Erdogan’s campaign against the Central Bank being independent and setting interest rates as it sees fit (originally done as part of the campaign to join the EU. In the West, central banks set interest rates independent of politics).
Now a mysterious ‘lobby’ is said to be keeping interest rates high to affect the next election. Treason, of course.