German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz urged his Turkish counterpart, Berat Albayrak, to give up his country’s resistance to joining an International Monetary Fund aid programme in a phone call on Thursday, according to a report in the German news magazine Spiegel, Bloomberg reported.
Albayrak, however, remained sceptical and said he would travel to the Gulf region this week in an attempt to collect financial commitments from friendly states there, Spiegel said, without saying where it got the information. The Turkish finance minister also expressed hope that the Russian government would help his country.
Like Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Albayrak, who is Erdogan’s son-in-law, has so far refused to join an IMF programme to tackle the country’s financial crisis. The Turkish lira has been squeezed on financial markets after US President Donald Trump doubled tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium imports and slapped sanctions on two ministers, reacting to the detention of an American pastor. In response to the currency crisis, Erdogan vowed to boycott Apple Inc’s iPhones in a demonstration of defiance.
The IMF is recommending a raise of interest rates in Turkey to stop the decline of the lira, Spiegel said. The organisation also calls for a strict budget policy. In return, it would provide between $30bn and $70bn.
Scholz and Albayrak will meet on September 21 in Berlin to prepare for Erdogan’s visit to the German capital a week later. German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, who is a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, will also participate in the meeting, according to a German official who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters.
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