Turkey’s battered currency rises after finance chief resigns

Berat Albayrak

FILE – In this Friday, Aug. 10, 2018 file photo, Berat Albayrak, Turkey’s Treasury and Finance Minister, wipes his forehead as he talks during a conference to ease investor concerns about Turkey’s economic policy. Albayrak, announced his resignation on social media Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020. He said on Instagram that he was stepping down from his post for health reasons and would spend more time with his family. Albayrak, 42, was appointed minister of finance and treasury in July 2018, having previously been energy minister for nearly three years. (AP Photo/Mucahid Yapici, File)

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The Turkish lira firmed against the dollar on Monday a day after the finance minister, who is also the son-in-law to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced his resignation on social media.

The lira jumped 5.8% to 8.02 per dollar, even though it was not immediately clear whether Erdogan had accepted Berat Albayrak’s resignation and whether a new finance minister would be appointed.

Albayrak, 42, announced on Instagram late on Sunday that he was stepping down from his post for health reasons and would spend more time with his family.

His resignation followed the dismissal over the weekend of central bank chief Murat Uysal and his replacement by former Finance Minister Naci Agbal.

In a statement released Monday, Agbal vowed to “decisively use all policy tools in pursuit of (the central bank’s) price stability objective.”

“The central bank will assess the current situation, review expectations, monitor developments closely, ahead of the bank’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting on Nov. 19,” he said.

Albayrak, who has four children with Erdogan’s daughter Esra, has presided over a rough period in the Turkish economy. The country was recovering from a currency crisis in 2018 when the coronavirus pandemic hit and Albayrak’s stewardship came under much criticism.

The lira currency has lost around 30% of its value since the start of the year, hitting a record low of 8.58 against the dollar on Friday, while annual inflation has hit 11.89%.

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