PM Yıldırım blasts banks over ‘speculative gains,’ calls for ‘more conscience’

PM Yıldırım blasts banks over ‘speculative gains,’ calls for ‘more conscience’

PM Yıldırım blasts banks over ‘speculative gains,’ calls for ‘more conscience’

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Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has lashed out at banks for making “speculative gains” through high interest rates, saying they should “have more conscience.”

“We expect banks to be fairer and more realistic. But they cut corners. What will they do with so much money,” Yıldırım said, addressing reporters at the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) annual camp over the weekend in the western province of Afyon. 

He noted that some banks lent at interest rates of 25 percent, while the Central Bank’s rate is 7.5 percent. 
“I saw that high interest rates have been issued by banks during my local visits in Afyon. This is unfair. We may accept 9 percent rather than 7.5 percent, but what is 25 percent? We have received many complaints about this issue,” Yıldırım added. 

The Treasury will not take money from banks forever, he said, adding that banks’ main mission must be to pour money into the real economy. 

“Turkey has been overcoming exceptional conditions. Despite the recent failed coup attempt, its economy has not deteriorated. On the contrary, our economy has been growing while the world economy shrinks,” he said, adding that applying such high interest rates would bring nothing other than “speculative gains.” 

Last week, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan once again voiced his opposition to interest rates, stating that earning via interest is “a tool of exploitation.” 

“I am an enemy of interest earnings. I see it as a tool of exploitation,” Erdoğan said on Oct. 20 during a ceremony at the presidential palace in Ankara to mark the financing of two major health projects. 

He declared that the ratio of interest rate spending to income had fallen to 13 percent from a previous 85.7 percent, but “even this is not enough for us.”

Erdoğan has long been a critic of interest rates, even suggesting that unrest in Turkey has been fostered by a shady “interest rate lobby” aiming to profit from political instability. He has repeatedly declared his aim to push interest rates to zero and has criticized former Central Bank governors Durmuş Yılmaz and Erdem Başçı for not lowering rates enough.