News ID: 251612
Published: 0237 GMT April 18, 2019

Erdogan slams Western media outlets over negative coverage of Turkish economy

Erdogan slams Western media outlets over negative coverage of Turkish economy

The Turkish president has lashed out at Western media outlets for launching a "smear campaign" aimed at painting a gloomy picture of Turkey's economy, which is in the throes of currency fluctuations, vowing that his country will stand firm in the face of such attacks.

Speaking at a business forum on Thursday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan singled out the Financial Times (FT), a day after the London-based international business daily questioned the Turkish central bank's management of foreign currency reserves, reported.

The newspaper had reported that Turkey’s central bank had "bolstered its foreign currency reserves with billions of dollars of short-term borrowed money," sparking fears among observers and investors that the country -- one of the Middle East's largest economies -- may not be capable of defending itself in the event of a currency crisis.

The Turkish national currency, lira, weakened around two percent against the US dollar in the aftermath of that report.

Erdogan insisted that the economy "is standing strong" despite the media campaign, adding, "Whatever you do, whichever headlines you put on your papers, Turkey will stand tall and continue its path. We are now used to this media, these rag papers."

“The dose of such attacks against us rises as we speak out more powerfully over global injustice. Hey, Financial Times, have you ever acknowledged the fact that Turkey hosts more than 4 million Syrians?”

The FT report said Turkey's foreign reserves were much lower than the $28.1 billion officially reported in April if the short-term borrowing was stripped out of the calculation. In reaction, the Turkish central bank acknowledged short-term operations may impact reserve figures, but said its accounting was in compliance with international standards.

Last month, the lira lost nearly six percent of its value in a single day amid investor concerns over foreign reserves as well as worries that the Ankara government had resorted to unorthodox ways to shore up the currency before the March 31 elections.

Turkey went into recession at the end of last year, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute, after two successive quarters of falling economic growth were recorded -- which is how recession is defined.

The Turkish currency first took a nosedive last August, when the US imposed sanctions on Ankara and heavy tariffs on imports from Turkey amid a political dispute between the two NATO allies.

The trade row led to a 30-percent slide in the lira's value, prompting the central bank to raise interest rates, a policy which helped the currency regain some of its values.

Turkey's economy woes are blamed as one of the main reasons behind the major losses suffered by Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in March 31 local elections despite an overall victory.

The AKP, for the first time in years, lost mayoral seats in the political center, Ankara, the third-largest city of Izmir and, above all, Istanbul, which is Erdogan's home city and the country's economic heartland.

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