ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday he was not requesting a limit on capital flows, clarifying comments he made on Sunday calling on the cabinet to block moves by businessmen “traitors” who tried to move assets abroad.
In a speech in the capital Ankara, Erdogan said businessmen need to take a patriotic stance as Turkey faces attacks on its economy, but there was nothing wrong with sending money abroad for investments.
“I am not making a request or an order to limit capital flows,” he said. “What I am saying is our businessmen need to take a domestic and national stance when our country is facing attacks and efforts to put our economy under pressure.”
“We have never had anything to say to those who are taking resources abroad for investments,” he said, clarifying that the “traitors” were those taking money abroad who were linked to Kurdish militants or supporters of the U.S.-based cleric whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating last year’s coup.
His comments supported a recovery in the lira TRYTOM=D3, which firmed as far as 3.9015 against the dollar, compared with Friday's close of 3.9135, having weakened as far as 3.9456 in early Monday trade.
Erdogan’s comments on Sunday come after state-run Anadolu news agency said Turkish prosecutors were set to seize the assets of Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab, who is cooperating with U.S. prosecutors in the trial of a Turkish banker charged with evading U.S. sanctions on Iran.
Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by David Dolan