Erdoğan, Albayrak talk economic policy with business leaders

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his son-in-law Berat Albayrak are discussing economic policy with top local and U.S. business executives in meetings prior to the announcement of the government’s new Medium Term Programme.

Albayrak, who became Treasury and Finance Minister in July, met with representatives of the Turkey's biggest companies on Tuesday to talk about the country's economic problems. Erdoğan was also due to meet around 30 executives representing U.S. businesses in Turkey, including Google and Microsoft, at the presidential palace on Wednesday.

 “In the meeting, and during the difficult period the economy is going through, there was an exchange of views regarding the short-term measures that can be taken as well as medium to long-term targets and policies,” the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) said after holding the discussions with Albayrak in Istanbul. TÜSİADs members include the CEOs of Koç Holding and Sabancı Holding, the country's biggest industrial conglomerates.

Albayrak will announce the three-year programme on Thursday. Its content is seen as critical to investor sentiment in Turkey, where a currency crisis threatens to send the economy into recession and put companies out of business. Economists are expecting measures including budget cuts, a halt to big investment projects and a commitment to below-inflation increases in public sector wages.

Erdoğan and his government have had a fractious and often tense relationship with TÜSİAD, which is seen as representing Turkey's secular business elite. Erdoğan's meeting with U.S. firms comes despite a crisis with Washington over Turkey's imprisonment of Americans including U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson on terrorism charges.

The lira rose 0.4 percent to 6.36 per dollar at 9:50 a.m. in Istanbul, paring the week's losses to 3 percent. The currency, which had plummeted to a record low of 7.23 per dollar in August, climbed to as high as 5.99 per dollar last week after the central bank surprised investors by hiking interest rates to 24 percent from 17.75 percent,