Turkish lira rallies after Erdogan’s son-in-law resigns

ISTANBUL (AFP) – The Turkish lira, one of the world’s worst performing currencies, gained around 2.5 per cent against the dollar yesterday after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak stepped down as finance minister.

The lira was 8.19 against the dollar at 0800 GMT, after opening the day at around 8.40.
In an unexpected move, Albayrak, finance minister since 2018, resigned late on Sunday citing health concerns.

“After serving in ministerial posts for nearly five years, I took the decision not to continue my duty (as finance minister) due to health issues,” he said in a statement on his official Instagram account.

The post created initial confusion among Turkish officials, and it was not clear if Erdogan will approve his resignation.

It came just a day after Erdogan ousted Central Bank Governor Murat Uysal, who came under sharp criticism for being unable to prevent the lira from losing roughly a third of its value against the dollar this year.

Former finance minister Naci Agbal replaced Uysal, who served in his role for only 16 months.

File photo shows Berat Albayrak wiping his forehead as he talks during a press conference. PHOTO: AP

Turkish media speculated that Albayrak opposed Agbal’s appointment.

The central bank’s new governor said the bank’s primary objective was to achieve and maintain price stability.

The central bank “will decisively use all policy tools in pursuit of its price stability objective,” Agbal said in a statement, adding that the current situation would be reviewed ahead of the next monetary policy committee meeting on November 19.

During Albayrak’s two years as finance minister, Turkey suffered a currency crisis in 2018, before hitting multiple record lows against the dollar this year.

In August, Albayrak drew ire when he downplayed the lira’s sharp fall.

“Are you paid in dollars?” he asked in a live television interview.

“Do you have any business in dollars?” he demanded in comments that went viral on social media at the time.

The 42-year-old is married to Erdogan’s elder daughter Esra with four children.

Albayrak has frequently accompanied Erdogan on foreign trips and policy meetings with world leaders.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu’s resignation earlier this year was not approved by the Turkish president. Soylu remains in his post.