Dec 15 2017

Top Erdoğan adviser resigns after criticising central bank

Bülent Gedikli, a senior economic adviser to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, resigned on Thursday after criticising the central bank for its decision to raise interest rates only marginally.

Gedikli, who has served in senior positions in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) since it gained power in 2002, gave no reason for his departure.

The central bank raised a key interest rate by 50 basis points to 12.75 percent on Thursday, below the current inflation rate of 13 percent, saying monetary policy was tight and it stood ready to hike rates further if needed.

“It (the interest rate increase) won’t help Jesus or Moses. Because it doesn’t meet market expectations and will have no impact on inflation,” Gedikli said on Twitter.

In an apparently tongue-in-cheek comment, Gedikli recently suggested that Turkey’s sovereign wealth fund could become a partner in a project by Tesla founder Elon Musk to reach Mars.

Gedikli fell out with Cemil Ertem, another of Erdoğan’s senior economic advisers in mid-September. He argued that the central bank should intervene in the currency markets to arrest gains for the lira against the dollar, which were hurting exporters. His recommendation prompted a swift retort from Ertem, who accused Gedikli of lacking experience about free-floating currency markets.

Gedikli is a former adviser to the finance minister and an ex-deputy chief of AKP responsible for financial affairs.