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Worried or defiant: Turks' mixed reaction to sharp depreciation of lira under U.S. pressure

(Xinhua)    07:40, August 15, 2018

ANKARA, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- Sitting inside his small handicraft booth at a bazaar in Ankara's Umitkoy district, Nuran Yildiz, is pessimistic about the future of Turkey's economy after the sharp tumbling of the Turkish lira.

"I see we are getting poorer each and every day," she told Xinhua, commenting on the recent decline of lira's exchange rate against the U.S. dollar.

Indeed, the recent plunge of lira has worsened the economic situation in Turkey and hitted the country's small businesses hard.

So far, lira has lot about 40 percent of its value against the dollar since the beginning of this year.

The Turkish currency fell more than 17 percent on Friday in its biggest one-day fall since its 2001 financial crisis, standing at around 6.47 to the dollar. It hit on Monday a record low of 7.23 to the dollar.

On Tuesday, lira recovered by more than 5 percent to 6.41 against the dollar, following Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak's pledge to protect the currency.

The falling lira and rising inflation have created a heavy burden on ordinary citizens by dramatically slashing their spending power.

The Turkish society is mixed in reaction to the economic problems currently facing the country.

Bekir Kanci, a market cashier in Ankara's Cankaya district, is also worried about Turkish economic future with the currency decline.

Due to rising rents and debt, Kanci was forced to close down his own electronic shop two months ago and work at his neighbor's shop.

"Cautious for economic future, consumers have reined in spending. Almost all of the goods I was selling were imported in U.S. dollars and as the prices increased, demand fell," he told Xinhua.

"I don't know whether it's foreign powers or not that causes economic failure of Turkey. I don't know about those interest lobbies, but this economy policy is not sustainable," he said.

The Turkish government has denounced some economists, who call for raising the interest rate, for acting on behalf of "interest lobbies."

Can Safak, a sales representative at a medical firm, said he purchased dollars in the past few weeks in order to prevent further shrinkage of his own wealth.

While criticizing the U.S. for partially responsible for the economic problems in Turkey, Safak also held Turkish politicians responsible for not making "necessary structural reforms."

A lawyer, who works at the Ankara branch of an international law firm dealing with foreign investors, also voiced deep concern about the future due to the recent "recession."

He said, for the past months, his company did not receive any new request from foreign companies about investing in Turkey.

"I am also worried for myself, since the company will not employ me any longer if we lose foreign customers," said the lawyer, who spoke under condition of anonymity.

But many Turks blame the United States for the recent economic woes in Turkey.

On Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced to double the U.S. tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium products, amid rising tensions in the bilateral ties after Ankara rejected a U.S. demand for releasing the detained U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday slammed the U.S. move as declaring an "economic war" against Turkey, while vowing to take necessary measures to protect its economy.

Meanwhile, pro-government Turks started a "We Will Win" social media campaign on the Tweet account #kazanacagiz to call for boycotting U.S. products and supporting Erdogan.

Amateur videos are seen on Turkish social media showing that some people burnt U.S. dollars to protest "dark powers' meddling in our economy" and display their support to Erdogan.

"Erdogan is our father. We will die for him. This dollar thing is a game of foreign powers. We'll defend against them," said Hasim Yilmaz, a doorman of an apartment in the Cankaya district in Ankara.

Muammer Koksal, a 20-year-old university student, believed that this is indeed an "economic attack" launched by the U.S. against Turkey.

"Because we don't give them the pastor. We, as a nation, should resist. I don't' have any purchase of dollars," he told Xinhua.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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