Turkey’s finance minister said on Friday that speculators were talking down the Turkish economy on social media and that the manipulation was similar to that he said took place during anti-government protests in 2013.
In an interview with Turkish broadcaster A Haber, Berat Albayrak said Turkey was leaving its economic vulnerabilities behind.
Turkey’s lira currency fell more than 4% against the US dollar on Friday.
“As Turkey is heading for the election, there is a smear campaign against our economy by speculative manipulation, especially in social media, just like the manipulation we faced during the Gezi protests in 2013,” Albayrak said.
He did not give examples or name those carrying out the suspected manipulation.
The lira’s fall on Friday was its biggest one-day fall since a currency crisis took hold in August.
Albayrak said Turkey, which is holding local elections on March 31, would post a positive current account balance in the summer, and that inflation might fall to single digits in September.
He said that Turkey would grow in the second, third and fourth quarter of this year.
Last year’s lira crisis sent inflation soaring to a 15-year peak of more than 25% in October. Since then it has dipped to just below 20% in February, even as the central bank held its policy rate at 24 %.
In January, the country’s current account deficit was $813mn, Turkey’s central bank said this month, compared with $27.633bn in 2018.
A recent fall in the Turkish central bank’s foreign currency reserves stemmed from sales of forex to energy-importing firms and a foreign debt payment, worth $5.3bn in total, a central bank official told Reuters on Friday.
The official said the fall in reserves was not extraordinary and that the bank maintained a policy of accumulating reserves.
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