Erdogan pledges measures to lift economy, tame inflation


ISTANBUL — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday outlined a series measures that he said would lift the country’s economy, and pledged to bring the inflation rate back down to single digits.

In an address to business leaders in Istanbul, Erdogan also vowed, among other measures, to reduce public expenses and narrow the current account deficit.

He promised tax exemptions to some 850,000 small businesses that have suffered from the coronavirus outbreak.

“One of the priorities on our agenda will be the fight against inflation,” Erdogan said. “Our aim is to reach lower, single-digit inflation rates.”

Erdogan said: “We will give approximately 850,000 small businesses tax exemptions and lift their obligations to file taxes.”

Turkey’s economy was already suffering when it was hit by the pandemic, with the Turkish currency depreciating to record lows due to concerns over economic mismanagement, central bank reserves and tense diplomatic relations with neighbors.

In November, Erdogan replaced the central bank governor as well as the finance minister – a position that had been held by his son-in-law Berat Albayrak – after the lira dipped to record lows.

Markets responded positively to the appointment of the new economic team, whose moves, including increasing interests rates to tame inflation, signaled a return to more orthodox, tighter policy.

Annual inflation stands above 15% and unemployment at around 13%.

Last year, the Turkish economy grew by 1.8%, according to official figures, although analysts said the growth is partly due to a credit boom.

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