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Berat Albayrak. Photo: Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images

Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak held a closed-door meeting with hundreds of investors during the IMF-World Bank meetings in Washington last week, and some who attended called it the worst they've ever had with a high-ranking government official.

What they're saying: "It was an absolute shit show," one emerging market fund manager who attended the meeting but was not authorized to comment on it publicly told Axios.

"I've literally never seen someone from an administration that unprepared," another investor said.

The backdrop: Government officials typically gather with investors during the week to lay out their plans to boost economic growth and address any fears of a weakening economy or debt default. Investors say Albayrak did none of that.

Why it matters: The unimpressive performance could not have come at a worse time for Turkey. Investors are growing more anxious as the country heads toward recession and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seeing his popularity erode. (Albayrak is Erdogan's son-in-law and replaced 2 highly respected ministers, despite having limited qualifications.)

  • Erdogan's party lost key elections in the country's 2 largest cities, and the president is challenging the results. His government also recently imposed de facto currency controls, reportedly telling local banks not to lend the country's currency to foreigners in order to keep it stable.
  • Locals increasingly are shifting toward conducting business in hard currency — U.S. dollars and euros — and away from the Turkish lira, Michael Conelius, an EM portfolio manager at T. Rowe Price, tells Axios.

What's next: Conelius said his biggest takeaway from the week's events was that he became more pessimistic about chances for a turnaround in Turkey.

  • "Not only are the fundamentals not improving, Erdogan is doing worse, investor sentiment is very, very bearish and they still have significant refinancing needs."
  • "This could be a systemic issue for emerging markets."

Yes, but: None of the asset managers who spoke with Axios said they had immediate plans to sell Turkish assets.

  • While the lira has weakened, it has not fallen back to levels seen last year when its value sank by as much as 40% to its weakest level against the dollar in history.
  • The country's benchmark stock index also has been modestly positive this year, up more than 5%.

Go deeper: Keep an eye on Turkey

Go deeper

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.
Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."

Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Trump confidante Matt Schlapp interviews Jared Kushner last February. Schlapp is seeking a pardon for a biotech executive. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

A flood of convicted criminals has retained lobbyists since November’s presidential election to press President Trump for pardons or commutations before he leaves office.

What we're hearing: Among them is Nickie Lum Davis, a Hawaii woman who pleaded guilty last year to abetting an illicit foreign lobbying campaign on behalf of fugitive Malaysian businessman Jho Low. Trump confidante Matt Schlapp also is seeking a pardon for a former biopharmaceutical executive convicted of fraud less than two months ago.