Erdoğan urges Turks to convert foreign currency to lira

Erdoğan suggested that there were forces "playing games" against Turkey, which Turks could counter by changing their money
Saturday, 03 December 2016 22:17

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday urged Turks to convert their foreign money into gold and lira to stimulate the country's economy as Turkey's currency continued its slide against the dollar.

"For those who have foreign currencies under the pillow, come change this to gold, come change this to TL (Turkish lira). Let the lira win greater value. Let gold win greater value," he said during a televised speech in Ankara.

"What necessity is there to let foreign currency have greater value?" he asked.

Erdoğan also suggested that there were forces "playing games" against Turkey, which Turks could counter by changing their money.

"Don't worry, in a short while, we will destroy this game," he said. 

The lira lost value against the dollar as he delivered his speech, however, reaching lows of 3.51. 

Later the Istanbul Exchange said on its website it would convert all of its cash assets into Turkish lira "in support of (Erdoğan's) call," leading the lira to make up some of its losses against the greenback after it reached record lows of 3.58.

In November alone, the lira haemorrhaged more than 10 percent of its value against the dollar.

But concerns over Turkey's political instability, including the government's race to expand Erdoğan's powers, as well as its fractious relationship with the European Union, meant a rally in the lira was short-lived after the bank's announcement.

Worries over Erdogan's influence grew after Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Thursday that the government would bring a bill to parliament next week which would change the constitution and hand the president increased powers.