Erdogan Vows to Punish Those Who ‘Smuggle’ Dollars Out of Turkey

(Bloomberg) -- President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to be harsh on anyone smuggling foreign currencies abroad in remarks Monday as some foreign banks halted or minimized trading in Turkish lira.

Erdogan’s remarks came as BNP Paribas SA scaled back its operation in the Turkish lira market following a regulatory clampdown, according to three people with knowledge of the matter. Clearstream Banking and Euroclear Bank suspended Turkish lira transactions over a shared electronic communications platform effective from Monday.

Turkey has increasingly made it difficult for foreign investors to bet against the lira by limiting access to liquidity since a currency crisis in 2018. Erdogan said foreign actors were seeking to undermine Turkey’s economy.

“We have foiled the attack on our country through foreign currencies,” Erdogan said in televised remarks after chairing an online cabinet meeting from Istanbul. “We will never show mercy to those smuggling foreign currencies to outside the country.”

The Turkish lira has been appreciating since hitting an all-time low of 7.2690 on May 7. It was trading at 6.8794 per dollar on Monday at 7:51 p.m. in Istanbul.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.