File Photo: Turkey s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan makes a statement after chairing the cabinet meeting in Ankara, on December 14, 2020. AFP
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's decisions were announced on the Official Gazette early Saturday. He replaced Sait Erdal Dincer, less than a year after his appointment, with Erhan Cetinkaya, who served as vice president of Turkey's banking regulation agency. The reason for the move was unclear.
Prices have skyrocketed in recent months as Turkey has experienced economic turmoil with an unstable national currency, triggered by massive interest rate cuts. Erdogan stands strongly against high interest rates, saying they cause inflation, contradicting established economic theory. Since September, the Central Bank has cut rates by 500 basis points to 14 percent, but stopped its cuts in January.
The country relies heavily on imports for its energy needs and any consumer goods. Inflation on consumer prices for December was officially announced at 36.08 percent, up from 21.31 percent in November.
But opposition parties have questioned the Turkish Statistical Institute's independence and its data is being challenged. Independent experts at Inflation Research Group, or ENAG, say the actual annual inflation for December was 82.81 percent.
Turkey's Central Bank revised its inflation predictions this week to 23.2 percent by the end of 2022 and down to 5 percent by the end of 2024.
Erdogan also announced that former justice minister Bekir Bozdag would return to his post, replacing Abdulhamit Gul who had served as minister since 2017 but resigned without announcing why.