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Turkish lira hits new lows after Erdogan expels 10 foreign ambassadors

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The Turkish lira hit new lows today (October 25) after the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced on Saturday that he had ordered 10 foreign ambassadors who demanded the release of a jailed philanthropist to be declared persona non grata.

In response to a baffling decision by the Turkish central bank to cut interest rates sharply, the Turkish lira plunged to a record low of 9.66 against the dollar last Friday before settling around 9.61 . The Turkish lira fell 2.8% this morning and was trading at 9.85 per dollar.

The central bank’s monetary committee cut the rate Thursday from 18% to 16%, despite rising inflation, surprising analysts and exacerbating a long string of losses. The cut was seen by many as further proof of the bank’s lack of independence from the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan has long called for lower borrowing rates to stimulate growth. Economists generally view higher interest rates as a drag on inflation, but Turkey’s president has repeatedly asserted that high interest rates cause prices to rise.

In another setback last week, the global terrorist financing watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) placed Turkey on a list of countries to watch for money laundering and terrorist financing . The agency urged Turkey to resolve serious oversight issues in its banking and real estate sectors, as well as with gold and gemstone dealers.

Erdogan orders the dismissal of 10 ambassadors, including the US envoy

Irish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday he had ordered 10 foreign ambassadors who had called for the release of a jailed philanthropist to be declared persona non grata.

The envoys, including representatives of the United States, France and Germany in Ankara, issued a statement earlier this week calling for a resolution of the case of Osman Kavala, a businessman and philanthropist who has since been jailed. 2017 although he was not convicted of a felony.

Describing the statement as impudence, Erdogan said he ordered the ambassadors to be declared undesirable.

I gave the instruction to our foreign minister and said that you will immediately deal with the persona non grata declaration of these 10 ambassadors, ”Erdogan said at a rally in the western town of Eskisehir.

He added: They will recognize, understand and know Turkey. The day they don’t know or understand Turkey, they will leave.

The diplomats, who also include the ambassadors of the Netherlands, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and New Zealand, were summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday.

A declaration of persona non grata against a diplomat usually means that the individual is prohibited from remaining in his host country.

Kavala, 64, was acquitted last year of charges related to nationwide anti-government protests in 2013, but the decision was overturned and joined to charges related to an attempted coup in 2016.

International observers and human rights groups have repeatedly called for the release of Kavala and Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas, imprisoned since 2016.

They say their imprisonment is based on political considerations. Ankara denies the allegations and insists on the independence of the Turkish courts.

The European Court of Human Rights called for Kavala’s release in 2019, saying his incarceration acted to silence him and was not supported by evidence of an offense. The Council of Europe has announced that it will re-initiate infringement proceedings against Turkey at the end of November if Kavala is not released.

The current US Ambassador, David Satterfield, was appointed in 2019. The appointment of his replacement, Jeff Flake, was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday.

With PTI entries

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