Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian regime has fought to prevent its currency from plunging further – amid fears the country’s economy could collapse. Its value has fallen significantly in recent years as the Turkish president has steadily tightened his grip on power.
Things accelerated at the end of last year – when it fell 44% in value as inflation peaked at around 30%.
In a desperate attempt to stave off the threat of hyperinflation, Ankora launched an advertising campaign to convince people to convert their savings into local currency.
A video broadcast on national television and social media on Sunday praises the hard work of citizens and asks them to invest their savings in Turkish lira term deposits that provide protection against currency depreciation.
It comes after Mr Erdogan introduced a set of measures on December 20 to stop the collapse.
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“The view of an extended flat rate has already been questioned and sooner or later small triggers will add to trigger a new round of lira depreciation.”
It seems that, so far at least, the scheme has been far from successful.
Frugal Turks have increasingly kept their savings in more stable currencies, namely the US dollar, as they are much less volatile.
Meanwhile, risk takers are increasingly turning to cryptocurrency due to the huge potential rewards it offers.
Cryptocurrency trading exploded in popularity in Turkey during last year’s financial crisis.
An estimated five million people currently operate trading accounts, according to politicians seeking to regulate the trade.
This annoyed the president, who said “we are at war with bitcoin.”
Ganesh Viswanath-Natraj, an expert on the relationship between cryptocurrency and emerging markets at Warwick Business School, told the Guardian: “While there is clearly a segment of the market that can invest in cryptocurrency, I don’t think it’s the average consumer of all hold some crypto.
He said the allure of cryptocurrency in countries like Turkey or Venezuela is that inflation is high anyway.