ISTANBUL (Reuters) - President Tayyip Erdogan told Turks to exchange gold and hard currency into lira on Friday, framing Turkey’s currency crisis as a “national battle” against economic enemies.
The lira, which has lost a third of its value this year, fell on his comments and was trading at around 6.05 to the dollar after he spoke, nearly 9 percent weaker on the day.
“The dollar cannot block our path. Don’t worry,” Erdogan told a crowd in the northeastern city of Bayburt.
“However, I say it once again from here. If there is anyone who has dollars or gold under their pillows, they should go exchange it for liras at our banks. This is a national, domestic battle,” he said.
“This will be my people’s response to those who have waged an economic war against us.”
Earlier on Friday the lira plunged as much as 14 percent on as worries about Erdogan’s influence over monetary policy and worsening U.S. relations snowballed into a market panic that also hit shares of European banks.
Turkey was facing artificial financial volatility, Erdogan said, and people should not pay close attention to foreign exchange prices, and should instead focus on the “big picture”.
He also said increasing production, exports and employment was the best response to the country’s challenges.
Reporting by Ece Toksabay, Sarah Dadouch and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Writing by Dominic Evans; Editing by David Dolan