Erdogan says Turkish cenbank chief ousted for refusing rate cuts

Erdogan Ousts Central Bank Chief Who Drew Ire for Holding Rates

The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dispatched the head of the Central Bank by decree.

Murat Cetinkaya, who had been serving as the governor since April 2016, was removed from the role and was replaced by his deputy Murat Uysal, a presidential decree published on the official gazette showed.

The Turkish leader called for lowering the interest rates to boost the economy, describing high rates as "the mother and father of all evils".

Though no reason was officially given for Cetinkaya's dismissal, he had been at odds with the government about lowering interest rates, which he had hiked previous year to support the rapidly weakening Turkish lira.

The central bank has in the past face pressured from Erdogan to decrease interest rates in order to restart a falling economy causing a recession.

A senior Turkish economist also said Erdogan's surprise dismissal of Cetinkaya could further undermine perceptions of the bank's independence.

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Erdogan believes lowering interest rates will increase economic growth, but the central bank previous year instead raised its benchmark interest rate from 17.5 percent to 24 percent, arguing that the hike was necessary to fight inflation and boost the lira.

Istanbul's new mayor Ekrem Imamoglu recently unseated Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party, which had governed Turkey's largest city since 2004, with a campaign that pointed out the government's economic failures.

Several economists were already expecting a rate cut at a July 25 monetary board meeting as inflation fell to 15.7% in June, its lowest level in one year. Uysal was previously vice-president of the central bank.

Turkey has been stockpiling parts for F-16s and other military equipment in anticipation of a USA sanction for acquiring the Russian S-400 air defense system. They accuse the bank of failing policies due to the volatile lira and high inflation of the country. "The central bank is a captive being kept in the palace", said the main opposition party spokesman Faik Oztrak, referring to Erdogan's office.

The new governor Uysal said he would continue to use monetary policy tools "independently" while remaining focused on ensuring price stability as his "main aim", according to a central bank statement.

The Turkish lira has lost 10 percent of its value against the dollar this year.

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