Turkey on Monday appointed a new deputy governor at the country’s central bank, two months after the monetary authority’s governor was replaced.
Semih Tümen, economics department head at Ankara’s TED University, was named in an official decree published overnight to replace Oğuzhan Özbaş as one of four deputy governors.
A respected labor market economist, Tümen previously worked at various positions at the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) from 2002 to 2018.
Four of the seven members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) have been replaced since March 20 when President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan replaced Naci Ağbal with new Governor Şahap Kavcıoğlu.
Ağbal was the bank’s third governor in less than two years.
Later that month, another deputy governor, Murat Çetinkaya, was replaced with former Morgan Stanley executive Mustafa Duman.
Çetinkaya is the namesake of former CBRT Governor Murat Çetinkaya who served as the bank’s chief between April 2016 and July 2019.
His replacement Murat Uysal served for 16 months until November last year when he was fired and replaced by Ağbal, who spent less than five months in the office.
Özbaş, the most recently replaced deputy governor, was appointed in July 2019.
Last November, he criticized the central bank policies under Uysal after working as his deputy, saying backdoor policy tightening toward the end of last year was “unnecessarily complicating the monetary stance.”
Analysts said the latest move would have a little immediate impact on the monetary policy, which is expected to loosen in the second half of the year as inflation falls.
Inflation has risen beyond 17% in April to its highest level in nearly two years.
Ağbal raised the key rate to 19% in March just before being fired. The bank has held its benchmark policy rate – the one-week repo rate – steady during the last two MPC meetings and pledged to maintain its policy stance until there is a significant drop in consumer prices.
The monetary authority last month estimated that inflation would peak in April and decline to 12.2% by year-end. It aims to bring it down to 5% by 2023.
Tümen, a research fellow at the Institute of Labor Economics whose work has been published internationally, will add market credibility as the economy rebounds from coronavirus fallout, analysts said.
“He is an esteemed economist whose name is known in the market. I think his contribution will be strong,” a central bank staffer who requested anonymity told Reuters.
A Turkish banker said: “His name is known in the market (and given) his macro knowledge he will be prominent in the MPC.”
The presidential decree published in the Official Gazette gave no reason for hiring Tümen, who was also an adviser to Erdoğan and whose last job at the bank was executive director of its structural economic research department.
His research on jobs, migration and refugees could assist the bank. A coronavirus-related ban on layoffs and a wage support program for employees of companies that have been hit by the outbreak have kept unemployment stable at around 13%.
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