Recep Tayyip Erdogan sacks the head of Turkey’s central bank

TURKEY’S ECONOMY had just begun to show signs of recovery. High interest rates, a measure of calm following local elections earlier this year and attempts to rebuild a strained relationship with America had allowed the lira, which fell by 12% against the dollar in the first four months of the year, to strengthen. Inflation had fallen to 16%, from 25% last autumn.

But in the small hours of July 6th Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, put the progress in jeopardy by sacking Murat Cetinkaya, the boss of the central bank. Though Mr Cetinkaya was not widely admired by investors, his peremptory removal unsettled markets. Mr Erdogan compounded the damage by proclaiming that high lending rates were to blame for inflation (a view roundly mocked by economists) and making clear that it was he who was in charge of monetary policymaking. “We told him several times to cut interest rates at meetings on the economy,” said the president of Mr Cetinkaya. “We said that if rates fall, inflation will fall. He didn’t do what was necessary.”

Mr Erdogan scored an own goal, says Paul McNamara, an investment director at GAM, an asset manager. “The best case is that they get a lira sell-off that keeps rates higher than they otherwise would have been. The worst case is that they set off a currency avalanche.” Mr Cetinkaya’s sacking showed...



via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

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