Economy administration should ‘get its act together,’ says President Erdoğan
Akif Beki MECCA
AA PhotoPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has further ramped up his criticism of Central Bank Governor Erdem Başçı and the economy administration, saying “they should get their act together.”
Speaking to a group of reporters en route to Saudi Arabia for an official visit, when asked about his recent public criticisms of Başçı, Erdoğan said he recently met with Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, the minister responsible for the economy, and would soon be meeting with Başçı.
“Of course I will call him [Başçı] and talk to him. But I have already spoken with the minister [Ali Babacan] he reports to. I see that they are in the same situation. When such warnings are made, they should get their act together,” he said.
Erdoğan also repeated his unorthodox claim that interest rates are the cause of high inflation.
“I don’t have to say what others say. I say that interest rates are the cause and inflation is the result.
This is my thesis. [Başçı] says the opposite. He says interest rates will be lowered if the inflation drops.
This is the sign that [he] is on the wrong path,” he said.
The president said the Central Bank should make decisions in order to foster stability, growth and exchange rates, not abiding by “Western powers” or the “interest rate lobby.”
“But if you revise inflation [expectations] three or four time a year, that means there is a problem here. But instead you engage in a war of words with the president and those who speak against you. [He] can’t continue in this job by abiding by the decisions of the Western powers. [He] can’t act on the orders of the interest rate lobby. You can’t make a decision so that the interest rate lobby will applaud,” Erdoğan said.
The president also spoke about the joint declaration of the government and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) over the weekend on the possible disarmament of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), saying there is a difference of opinion between jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and the group’s headquarters in the Kandil Mountains of northern Iraq.
“It is clear that Kandil and İmralı are different,” Erdoğan said, referring to İmralı Island, where Öcalan is serving his life sentence.
“It has also emerged that there is a division inside the party,” he added, observing that recent remarks from Selahattin Demirtaş, the co-leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), contradicted the joint statement made by Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan and a HDP delegation.
“When we look at the remarks from those who visit İmralı, [it is clear] İmralı wants arms to be dropped. But the approach of the person leading the party [Demirtaş] is very different. He says ‘we will look at the government’s implementations.’ Which implementation of the government will you look at? The government is already the guarantor of the peace process,” Erdoğan said.
“I hope the positions here will not continue like this. I hope they will be integrated at some point,” he added, describing the difference of opinion between Kandil and İmralı as “obvious.”
“He [Demirtaş] puts the blame on the government. But it is not the government that has guns. The state has security forces, and their guns are their instruments to secure our peace. He has brought a negative approach to the process, and such moves negatively affect the process,” Erdoğan stated.
He said the joint declaration of the government and the HDP over the weekend is “binding” for both Kandil and the HDP.
“İmralı has done its part. Ten articles were announced. But then there are Demirtaş’s remarks. They are inconsistent. The situation we are in is a threat to peace and security. Who in this country is on the side of the peace process? Who wants to support the country’s peace, prosperity? We should see this,” Erdoğan said.
He also stressed that he has not been left out of the peace process since assuming the president’s post last August.
“The government will continue in the direction it has been going … But I’m not out of the peace process because I assumed this post. The presidency has not been left out. We talk about these issues in weekly meetings with the government and the General Staff to administrate the process. This will be the main topic in the cabinet meeting that I will chair next week,” Erdoğan added.