ANKARA — In the middle of a historic decline in the strength of the Turkish Lira, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan dismissed the Governor of the Central Bank Murat Uysal, replacing him with former Minister of Finance Naci Ağbal.
Turkey’s economy has taken a severe downturn as Erdoğan’s aggressive, expansionist foreign policy begins to run into financial hurdles. With a significant military presence in Syria after three separate invasions — first in Azaz, then in Cafrin (Afrin) / Edleb (Idlib) and finally in Tel Abyad / Rish Ayno (Ras al-Ayn) — and involvement in Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh, Ankara’s finances are being pushed to its limits.
While a significant factor is the global economic retraction in face of the coronavirus pandemic, it has been Turkey’s funding of mercenary groups that has depleted its foreign reserves and its aggressive foreign policy that has alienated investors and led to a boycott of Turkish products by a growing list of Arab countries.
The threat of U.S. sanctions also dangles overhead in response to Turkey’s purchasing of the Russian made S-400 air defense systems against the wishes of its NATO allies.
As of Saturday, the Turkish Lira was exchanging at a rate of 1 to 8.52 against the U.S. Dollar. Ten years ago, it was exchanging at a rate of about 1 to 1.45.
In related news, Ibrahim Senel was appointed as head of the Strategy and Budget Department of the Presidency to replace Naci Ağbal and former Minister of Economy Nihad Zebekji was appointed as a member of the Economic Policy Committee of the Presidency.