Turkish Lira Crumbles After Erdogan Says He Will "Take Responsibility For Monetary Policy"

In the latest distress signal from one of the most troubled corners of the emerging markets, this morning the Turkish Lira plunged to fresh all-time lows against the dollar after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he intends to tighten his grip on the economy and will take more responsibility for monetary policy if he wins an election next month, which he will.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Erdogan brushed aside the apparent collapse of his economy in a stagflationary vortex, where double-digit inflation is racing with daily TRY devaluation, and said that after the vote transforms Turkey into a full presidential system, he expects the central bank will have to heed his calls for lower interest rates... which is bizarre as the last thing investors in Turkey want right now is lower rates. For context, the central bank’s key rate is now 13.5%, compared with 10.9 percent consumer-price inflation.

"When the people fall into difficulties because of monetary policies, who are they going to hold accountable?" the cartoonish president told Bloomberg. "They’ll hold the president accountable. Since they’ll ask the president about it, we have to give off the image of a president who’s influential on monetary policies."

In other words, in addition to having recently been granted quasi-despotic, "emergency" powers, Erdogan now wants to also take over the central bank.

Erdogan has routinely criticized the central bank for setting interest rates that he says have helped stoke rising prices, an argument that contradicts conventional economic theory. Central bank governor Murat Cetinkaya has said higher borrowing costs would help anchor the currency, a view in line with orthodoxy.

Bizarrely, expounding on his own unique brand of macroeconomics, Erdogan said that cutting rates would bring lower inflation because borrowing costs would decline.

“Of course our central bank is independent,” Erdogan said. “But the central bank can’t take this independence and set aside the signals given by the president, who’s the head of the executive. It will make its evaluations according to this, take its steps according to this. And I believe this will result in very beneficial steps in the future."

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