ISTANBUL – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has ordered an investigation into possible currency manipulation after the lira fell sharply to record lows against the dollar this week, the Anadolu news agency reported on Saturday.
It said Erdogan had tasked the State Supervisory Council, an auditing agency which reports to the presidency, to identify institutions that had bought large amounts of foreign currency and to determine whether any manipulation had occurred.
The lira plunged to record lows this week after Erdogan pledged to stick with a policy of easing interest rates. It has lost as much as 45% of its value this year, with about half of those losses in the last two weeks.
The currency fell as far as 13.45 to the dollar in a historic 15% selloff on Tuesday that followed a speech in which Erdogan defended the central bank’s move to slash its policy rate to 15%, despite inflation of 20%.
During the speech, he said Turkey was fighting an “economic war of independence” and would not yield to pressure to change course.
“We are seeing the games that are being played over the exchange rate, interest rates and price rises by those who want to push our country out of the equation,” he said.
Turkey’s State Supervisory Council can demand that organisations present relevant information and documents, and will forward its findings to relevant authorities, state-owned Anadolu said.