Albayrak resignation calls rebuffed by Turkey’s governing party

Senior officials of Turkey’s governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) rebuffed calls on social media for the resignation of Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak after the lira sank to a record low against major currencies.

Some Turkish social media users started a hashtag #BeratAlbayrakİstifa, meaning “Berat Albayrak resign”, on Twitter as the lira slumped on Thursday, prompting Mahir Ünal, a deputy chief of the AKP in parliament, to come to the minister’s defence.

“People who rub their hands calling for a resignation by not looking at the economic indicators but purely at the exchange rate are not acting honestly,” Ünal said.

Turkey’s lira extended its record low on Friday, trading down as much as 1.2 percent at 7.32 per dollar and taking losses this year to almost 20 percent. Albayrak has implemented policies to spur economic growth in the country since his appointment in July 2018, including sanctioning cheap lending by state-run banks, tax cuts and backing a rate-cutting spree by the central bank.

Pro-government social media users began their own hashtag #BeratAlbayrakınYanındayız, or “Berat Albayrak we are on your side”, which was ranked fourth in Twitter’s “Turkey Trends” on Friday morning.

Albayrak, 42, is the son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He was appointed by Erdoğan just over two weeks after Erdoğan was re-elected president with vast new powers in the June 2018 general elections. Albayrak previously served as Energy Minister and as chief executive officer of energy company Çalık Holding.