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Waiting to exchange money. Photo: Ozan Kose/AFP via Getty

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey's deepening currency crisis could mark the definitive end of the country's economic success story and is making ordinary citizens poorer.

Driving the news: Turkey's currency is fluctuating on a daily basis and has lost 45% of its value against the dollar this year. Investors are abandoning Turkish assets due to concerns about the Central Bank’s ability to control inflation. Ordinary citizens are rushing to convert their savings to foreign currencies and gold. 

  • Street vendors have begun selling half bagels due to the decreasing purchasing power of citizens.

State of play: The economic crisis has damaged the political standing of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development Party, which has held power since 2002 and based its pitch to voters largely around rising living standards.

  • Erdoğan's economic team insists on an unorthodox economic policy of cutting interest rates despite soaring inflation and rising poverty. Erdoğan has described high interest rates as the “mother of all evil."
  • Erdoğan and his team claim their policy will boost Turkey's exports and economic growth by making the currency much more competitive.

A dispute over interest rates led Erdoğan to replace his more mainstream finance minister last week with a loyalist, Nureddin Nebati.

  • In the past two years, Erdoğan has dismissed three Central Bank presidents, raising questions about the bank's independence.
  • Central Bank governor Sahap Kavcioglu and Erdogan's new finance minister have both doubled down on the current, unorthodox monetary policy.

What they’re saying: Nebati, who served three years as a deputy finance minister, this week praised the policy of cutting rates and said, "We are determined to implement it."

  • Central Bank governor Sahap Kavcioglu said the unorthodox monetary policy would begin to show results early next year.
  • Erdoğan, who blames the current crisis on scheming by foreign forces, predicts a 10% GDP growth rate by the end of this year and a current account surplus in 2022.

Meanwhile, opposition parties are calling for early elections and holding political rallies attacking Erdoğan's economic mismanagement.

  • Erdoğan is opposed to calling elections before 2023, by which time around 9 million younger Turks will be eligible to vote for the first time.
  • But he may struggle to win them over. One in five young people are unemployed.

What to watch: The Central Bank has signaled one more limited rate cut in mid-December, after which time the bank will likely end its monetary easing policy.

  • As the economic struggles spread, a massive brain drain is likely in the coming months.

Go deeper

Hope King, author of Closer
Jan 11, 2022 - Economy & Business

Powell faces management of an economy he helped create

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Brendan Smialowski-Pool/Getty Images

Jerome Powell’s second term as Federal Reserve chair will be defined by his response to the economy he helped create.

Why it matters: Powell's job will be harder in many ways than when the Fed was focused on just keeping the country afloat at the onset of the pandemic.

Scoop: Stephanie Ruhle to replace Brian Williams on MSNBC

Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

MSNBC will soon announce plans to move morning anchor Stephanie Ruhle to the 11 pm ET hour that Brian Williams turned into an elite destination, two sources familiar with the move tell Axios.

Details: The 9 am ET hour, currently hosted by Ruhle, will become part of MSNBC's flagship morning show, "Morning Joe," which currently runs from 6 am to 9 am ET.

Oath Keepers leader denied bail on Capitol riot sedition charge

Oath Keepers co-founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

A federal judge ordered Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes to remain jailed Wednesday until trial on charges stemming from the Capitol riot.

Why it matters: The judge said the most prominent far-right figure charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection had access to weapons and his alleged "continued advocacy for violence against the federal government" gave credence to prosecutors' view that, if released, Rhodes could endanger others.