October 9, 2018 / 8:05 AM / 2 months ago

Turkey's Erdogan names advisers, banking chief to economic policy committee

FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara, Turkey, October 2, 2018. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan named several of his advisers and a theology professor to a new economic policy committee, as the country seeks to reassure foreign investors spooked by a falling lira currency and high inflation.

The board was one of nine committees, in areas also including education, science, culture, security and health, to which Erdogan appointed members in an Official Gazette statement on Tuesday.

They are part of changes in the structure of government since Turkey switched to an executive presidency following Erdogan’s election victory in June.

One economist criticized the make-up of the economy committee, which included the BDDK banking regulator’s chairman and presidential advisers Cemil Ertem, Hatice Karahan and Yigit Bulut.

“Huge opportunity wasted. Turkey has some top-notch economists and bankers, and could even have brought on some international experts to add new ideas and credibility, which is much needed at the moment,” Timothy Ash of BlueBay Asset Management wrote on Twitter.

Erdogan, a self-described “enemy of interest rates”, wants borrowing costs lowered to keep the economy growing. His repeated criticism of monetary policy has undermined confidence in the central bank and sparked the lira sell-off and fueled already high inflation.

The government is due to announce new measures to bring down inflation at 1 p.m. (1000 GMT) on Tuesday.

Erdogan’s economy committee also included Servet Bayindir, a theology and economics professor specializing in Islamic finance.

In all, Erdogan named 76 members to the nine policy boards.

Reporting by Ceyda Caglayan; Editing by Daren Butler and John Stonestreet

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