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Erdogan takes wheel of Turkish wealth fund

Turkey's leader, struggling to contain an economic crisis, has said he wants his country to move away from the dollar

Beirut, September 12, 2018 6:39 PM (UTC+8)
Supporters of Turkish president Erdogan driving through Hamburg, Germany after his victory in the latest presidential elections. Kay Nietfeld/dpa

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday took the wheel of his country’s sovereign wealth fund, in his latest attempt to steady an economy in crisis, state media reported.

“Turkey’s Wealth Fund has appointed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as its new chairman, according to a notification in the Official Gazette,” state news agency Anadolu said.

Erdogan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak, who already serves as treasury and finance minister, will become the acting chairman of the fund.

The Turkiye Wealth Fund, founded in August 2016, holds major stakes in some of the country’s most important companies. Its portfolio includes 100% ownership of Turkish Petroleum, Borsa Istanbul and Ziraat Bank, as well as shares in national carrier Turkish Airlines (49.12%) and Halk Bank (51.11%).

The Turkish lira has lost more than 75% of its value against the dollar since January, pushing up the cost of a wide variety of goods. Inflation rose to nearly 18% in August, its highest level in 15 years.

Erdogan believes his nation is fighting an “economic war” launched by foreign enemies and has stated that the hegemony of the dollar in international trade should be put to an end.

At a Tehran summit on Friday with his Iranian and Russian counterparts, an agreement was reached to use local currencies for trade deals, Anadolu reported, citing Iran’s central bank governor Abdolnaser Hemati.

“Hemati told the media a meeting with the administrators of the Turkish and Russian Central Banks is expected in the near future and he hopes the agreed topics would rapidly come into effect,” the Turkish agency said.

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