President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday said Turks would not be brought “to their knees” by an economic crisis that has battered the lira currency.
The lira has tumbled some 40% this year, hit by worries about political influence over monetary policy and a worsening diplomatic rift with the US.
The sell-off has spread to other emerging market currencies and global stocks in recent weeks.
In a pre-recorded address to mark the four-day Eid al-Adha festival, which starts today, Erdogan, a pious Muslim, sounded a characteristically defiant note as he lashed out at those selling the lira.
“The attack on our economy has absolutely no difference from attacks on our call to prayer and our flag.
The goal is the same. The goal is to bring Turkey and the Turkish people to their knees — to take it prisoner,” Erdogan said in the televised address.
“Those who think they can make Turkey give in with the exchange rate will soon see that they are mistaken.”
Erdogan stopped short of directly naming any countries or institutions, but he has, in the past, blamed a shadowy “interest rate lobby”, Western ratings agencies and financiers.
The lira weakened to 6.1290 to the dollar by 1546 GMT yesterday, from a close of 6.0100 on Friday.
On Friday two ratings agencies, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, further cut Turkey’s sovereign rating into junk territory.
In addition to the lira, Turkey’s sovereign dollar bonds fell and the cost of insuring its debt rose.
The German finance minister said yesterday the Turkish currency crisis posed an additional risk to Germany’s economy.
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