Turkey’s president has fired one of the country’s deputy central bank governor, the third senior official to be fired in two months in a series of interventions by an unelected institution with unnerved investors .
Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued an order in the Official Gazette earlier Tuesday that removed Oguzhan Ozbas, a member of the monetary policy committee, and replaced him with Semih Tumen, a professor of economics at TED University in Ankara.
In March, Erdogan ousted Naci Agbal, the third central bank governor in less than two years. Agbal was replaced by Sahap Kavcioglu, a newspaper columnist who shared Erdogan’s unconventional view that high interest rates, rather than quenching inflation. A week later, Erdogan replaced deputy governor Murat Cetinkaya.
The lira has lost 14 percent of its value against the dollar since March amid fears that the bank under Kavcioglu will not be able to oppose Erdogan to maintain tight monetary policy to fight inflation, which has been squeezed by double digits for most of the past three years. .
Erdogan said both interest rates and inflation would drop to 10 percent this year. He has long signaled the central bank to withhold lending payments to stimulate the economy.
The central bank held its next rate -setting meeting on June 17. Kavcioglu vowed to continue tightening policy until inflation slowed down but took some of the rhetorical remarks he followed from policy statements.
Tumen, 44, has graduate degrees from the London School of Economics and the University of Chicago. He previously worked at the central bank in various positions and as a human resources advisor to Erdogan.
Only three of the seven monetary policy committee members have served as policy makers for three or more years, with the rest appointed from the start of 2020.