ANKARA — Turkey’s Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek announced Tuesday that he had kicked off his new Gulf tour in the United Arab Emirates as Ankara scrambles to lure foreign funds to ease its foreign currency crunch.
In Abu Dhabi, the first leg of the tour, Simsek held a “productive” meeting with UAE Investment Minister Mohammed Hassan Al Suwaidi, the Turkish finance chief wrote on social media.
Simsek then traveled to Doha, where he met with his Qatari counterpart Ali Bin Ahmad Al-Kuwari. On the second leg of his trip, Simsek also touted investment opportunities to more than 200 international investors and businessmen at a forum.
The Turkish finance minister also held a separate face-to-face meeting with Moutaz Al Khayyat, chairman of Power International Holding, on the sidelines of his visit, according to the Turkish Embassy in Doha.
Simsek said he would travel to Saudi Arabia late Tuesday, wrapping up his third tour of the region since his appointment to helm the Turkish economy in June. He previously traveled to the region twice in July — first on a solo trip, and then in the entourage of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who paid his first regional visit to the Gulf after his reelection in June.
Simsek’s Gulf tour comes as part of Ankara’s efforts to draw foreign funds to the country as Turkey faces a foreign currency crunch amid the devaluation of the Turkish lira. Prior to his Gulf tour, Simsek also traveled to France, Germany and the United Kingdom, meeting with officials as well as foreign investors.
He and the country’s new Central Bank Governor Hafize Gaye Erkan, who was also appointed to her post in June, also traveled to Marrakech earlier this month to attend the International Monetary Fund’s annual meeting.
Simsek and Erkan, mainstream economists and former US Wall Street executives, were tapped as part of the Turkish government’s economic policy U-turn after the May general elections, with Erdogan abandoning his unconventional economic wisdom. Under the influence of Erdogan, who advocated the idea that high interest rates cause high inflation, the Central Bank’s former leadership lowered its interest rates as low as 8.5%. The country’s annual inflation peaked to a 24-year high of 85.5% in October last year before relatively easing to below 60%.
With Simsek and Erkan at the helm of the economic management, the government shifted to conventional economic policies and the central bank raised its interest rates from 8.5% to 30% in successive hikes since June in bid to rein in the runaway inflation and cost-of-the-living crisis.
The bank is expected to raise the rates further on Thursday during its monthly monetary committee meeting.
Source : Al-Monitor