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Erdogan replaces finance minister with deputy amid lira meltdown

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has removed his treasury and finance minister just over a year after he was hand-picked for the post.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has removed his treasury and finance minister just over a year after he was hand-picked for the post.

Lutfi Elvan “asked to be relieved from his post,” and has been replaced with Nureddin Nebati, according to a decree published early Thursday in the Official Gazette.

Nebati, 57, is a businessman and a former lawmaker from Erdogan’s ruling AKP, and was one of Elvan’s four deputies.

Elvan had replaced Erdogan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak as finance minister in November last year. Albayrak had announced that he was stepping down from his position for health reasons.

The markets have since been rattled by the depreciating lira, high inflation and a controversy over interest rates.

Since the beginning of this year, the lira has plunged to record lows against the US dollar, losing 47 per cent of its value.

Erdogan’s pressure on the central bank to cut key interest rates – based on his unorthodox theory that higher interest rates cause higher inflation – fuelled the lira’s freefall.

Last month, the Turkish president warned he could part ways with team members who defend higher interest rates, without naming any official.

His remarks had come hours after Elvan acknowledged inflation was well above the official target and fiscal discipline is key to take the heat off the markets.

Local media had speculated that Erdogan would not be happy with Elvan’s remarks.

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