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Erdogan government holds conference call for Lira crisis

TURKEY’S finance chief has held an emergency conference call with thousands of overseas investors as the country continues to grapple with its gravest lira crisis in nearly 20 years.
Berat Albayrak, the son-in-law of President Tayyip Erdogan sought to reassure uneasy investors and economists during the mammoth call, insisting Turkey would emerge stronger from its current currency woes. The Turkish lira plummeted to a record low against the dollar this week, falling to 7.24 before recovering slightly.
Despite a slight recovery in the value of the lira against the dollar in reaction to the call, the Turkish currency still remains down some 34 percent this year. But while Mr Albayrak acknowledged the domestic challenges posed by the lira’s current troubles, he told investors the current crisis was a market anomaly. He revealed Turkey was not planning to seek help from the International Monetary Fund or impose measures to prevent money from flowing abroad.
The lira’s freefall began after President Donald Trump doubled tariffs on steel and aluminium on Turkey amid a bitter row between Washington and Ankara. Mr Trump has clashed with President Erdogan over the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson who is being held on terrorism charges.



The Turkish government says the evangelical Christian is linked to the banned Kurdistan Workers Party, which Ankara believes was behind a failed coup in 2016.
But the White House said on Wednesday it would not remove steel tariffs on Turkey, giving Ankara little incentive to work for the release of Mr Brunson. Washington is demanding the pastor be released but Turkish officials say the case is a matter for the courts.The US and Turkey are also embroiled in a bitter row over the role of Turkish bank Halkbank in skirting sanctions against Iran.
A senior Halkbank executive was jailed for 32 months for taking part in a scheme to help Iran avoid US sanctions in May, but Mr Albayrak played down the risk of the bank itself being slapped with fines.
He told investors: "We are not expecting any fines on Halkbank for sure.
"But hypothetically speaking, if one of our public banks need help, the government will stand strong by it for sure."
In response to the worsening relations between Turkey and the US, President Erdogan has called for a boycott of American-made electronics goods. The Turkish leader also urged citizens to exchange gold and foreign currency into lira, saying the country was involved in an economic war with enemies. But figures from the country’s central bank suggest Turks are not rushing to heed his appeal.
Foreign currency deposits held by local investors rose to $159.9 billion in the week to Aug. 10, from $158.6 billion a week earlier.

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