Turkey's unemployment funds being channeled into banks as capital: columnist

The treasury bonds held by Turkey’s Unemployment Insurance Fund are being used as capital for the country's embattled banks, according to former Radikal columnist Ugur Gürses.

The claim from the columnist arrives as the country’s currency suffers from trade tensions with the United States, which has led to deteriorating current-account balances. Analysts have stressed that raising interest rates and encouraging investors to put more money in Turkish banks could remedy the embattled lira.

Bonds totalling 11 billion Turkish liras could only have been purchased by the country’s Unemployment Insurance Fund, according to Gürses, who stressed that the interest rate on the bonds and those purchased them were never disclosed to the Turkish public.

The Unemployment Insurance Fund been independent from the Treasury for 16 years, during which time it has gathered 125 billion lira ($20 billion) through contributions from workers, employers and the state.

Turkey's Steelworkers Union Research Centre (BİSAM) last month said Turkish authorities misused a significant amount of the unemployment fund, spending only 27 percent of the unemployment insurance fund for unemployed people, while 43 percent was spent as an incentive fund to support companies and 28 percent for other purposes. 


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