Erdoğan clarifies remarks criticizing businessmen ‘moving assets abroad’

Erdoğan clarifies remarks criticizing businessmen ‘moving assets abroad’

Erdoğan clarifies remarks criticizing businessmen ‘moving assets abroad’

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has assured that Turkey will continue to abide by free market economy rules and there will be no restrictions on the flow of capital outside the country, clarifying his earlier criticisms of “some business people in Turkey” for “moving their assets abroad.”

“I do not have any instructions for the restriction on capital flows,” Erdoğan said at a meeting in Ankara on Dec. 4.

“Turkey is bound to a free market economy. Everyone in Turkey has the right to transfer money abroad since 1989 and this right is in place today,” he said.

At a rally in the southeastern Anatolian town of Muş, the president had said he had information that some business people had made an effort to move their assets abroad and asked cabinet members to deal with this issue.

Erdoğan subsequently said his words had been "misinterpreted," underlining that he had referred to a small group of businessmen who intended to move their assets because they do not trust the state of the Turkish economy.

“We are proud of the investments made by our business people when we see them in the countries we visit. All companies - local and foreign - continue their operations in integrity with the global financial system,” Erdoğan stressed.

“We cannot say a word against those who move sources abroad for investment, seeking exports or trade,” he added.

Erdoğan repeated his calls to Turkish business people to adopt a "national stance" at a time when Turkey is going through "difficult days and economic pressure."

“When will our business people defend their country, if not today? No offense, but a business person who does not defend his or her country today is not a national one,” he said.

Erdoğan also stated that people linked to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen who have moved their resources from Turkey abroad “are already traitors.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesman Bekir Bozdağ echoed Erdoğan’s words, stressing that the government is not working to restrict the flow of capital abroad.