Erdoğan calls on banks to join mobilization for growth, promises to cut Gülenist funding

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 04.08.2016 13:59
Updated 04.08.2016 22:07
emDHA Photo/em
DHA Photo

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan urged the banking sector to decrease interest rates for home purchases to around 9 percent, saying that the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) should aim to raise its foreign reserves to at least $165 billion, increasing it from $103.1 billion, as announced in mid-July, pointing out that the CBRT has the potential to achieve higher numbers. Erdoğan added that despite all speculations, there is higher than expected demand for government debt securities. He also emphasized that despite the failed coup attempt on July 15, Turkey is not experiencing any problems regarding access to international funds.

Speaking to Chamber of Commerce leaders and bourses at the Presidential Complex in Ankara yesterday, Erdoğan advocated lower interest rates, describing high interest rates as oppressive to business investments, employment and economic growth. He has repeatedly said that Turkey's economy remains strong in the wake of last month's failed military coup attempt, emphasizing that Turkey's borrowing interest rate has decreased to 9.3 percent from 63 percent since June, paralleling its strong macroeconomic indicators.

In line with Erdoğan's remarks, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım met with the same group later in the day, saying that the Turkish economy stands strong with a government that takes all necessary measures to support a safe investment environment. Stressing recent reforms which will alleviate the tax burden on businesses while offering incentives to contribute to production and minimizing paperwork, Yıldırım said that fiscal discipline will be maintained and macroeconomic indicators; namely, unemployment rates, will fall below 10 percent in April.

Furthermore, speaking to Chamber of Commerce officials and bourses at the Çankaya Palace in Ankara yesterday, Yıldırım emphasized that the failed coup attempt aimed to hit the Turkish economy as well, by destroying the political stability that supports resilient economic growth.

Fight against coup plotters to involve FETÖ-linked businesses

Stressing Turkey's determination to fight against terrorism, Erdoğan vowed to cut off the revenue of businesses linked to the U.S.-based fugitive cleric Fethullah Gülen. The failed coup of July 15 was attempted by military officers loyal to the Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ) through fighter jets, helicopters and tanks, bombing the Turkish Parliament and blocking bridges in a bid to seize power.

Furthermore, Erdoğan described Gülen-linked schools, companies and charities as "nests of terrorism." Business is the arena in which the FETÖ network has its strongest foothold, according to a speech President Erdoğan made on a live television broadcast, in which he vowed to show no mercy in the crackdown on FETÖ.

FETÖ is comprised of an extensive network of schools, charities and businesses established in Turkey and abroad over the decades by followers who aim to infiltrate state institutions and build a "parallel structure" to overthrow the Turkish government. More than 60,000 people in the military, judiciary, civil service and education sectors have been detained, suspended or are now under investigation for their alleged links to FETÖ since the July 15 coup attempt.

"They have nothing to do with a religious community; they are a full-fledged terrorist organization ... This cancer is different, this virus has spread everywhere," Erdoğan reiterated. "The business world is where they are the strongest. We will cut off all business links, all revenues of Gülen-linked businesses. We are not going to show anyone any mercy," he said, describing the current detentions as just the tip of the iceberg.

Under the scope of counterterrorism measures, one of the most notable steps taken by the government on May 29, 2015, with the Banking Supervisory and Regulatory Authority (BDDK) ruled for a complete takeover by the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) of all shares of Bank Asya, which is the main financial institution of FETÖ and affiliated companies. The bank was allegedly mismanaged and failed to fulfill its financial obligations, posing risks to Turkey's financial sector under the scope of Article 70 of the Banking Law which regulates the BDDK's intervention with banks that are in financial trouble.

Erdoğan also pointed that Turkey can no longer be governed by laws from 1950's, and laws made after coups.

"We cannot govern the country with laws made during coup periods" Erdoğan said, noting that infiltrators who pledge allegiance to other actors rather than being loyal to the state cannot be removed without making necessary constitutional changes. He highlighted that Turkey is currently studying examples of successful systems and aims to implement the best system suitable for the country in order to strengthen the state.

The president also invited main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) chairman Kılıçdaroğlu once again to the grand democracy rally in Istanbul's Yenikapı Square, which will take place on Sunday.

He said that he appreciated Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahçeli's decision to attend the rally, and added that he would like CHP's Kılıçdaroğlu to personally attend the meeting, rather than sending a party delegation to represent him.

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