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Apr 15 2019

Albayrak-linked newspaper highlights 'high' Turkish interest rates

The interest rates charged by Turkish banks have again become the focus of criticism by Turkey’s pro-government media.

Sabah newspaper, owned by the Turkuvaz Media Group, published a lead article in its economy section on Monday highlighting the high rates of interest charged by non-government banks.

Turkuvaz is chaired by Serhat Albayrak, the brother of Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak. Berat Albayrak is the son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Erdoğan is leading public calls for lower interest rates in the country as his government grapples with an economic recession and inflation of almost 20 percent. Late last month, Erdoğan reiterated his view that higher interest rates were inflationary and called on banks to lower them.

Announcing a new economic programme last week, Berat Albayrak said the Treasury would lend 28 billion liras ($4.9 billion) to state-run banks, who are charging below market interest rates on loans on the government’s request.

Sabah listed the interest rates levied by individual banks on consumer loans, car loans and mortgages, telling consumers to be careful about which bank they borrow from. While state-run banks charge rates of about 1.5 percent per month on consumer loans, the costs to consumers at listed lenders are 1.8 percent to 2 percent monthly. 

Erdoğan oversees a sovereign wealth fund that controls two large state-run banks. Berat Albayrak is its deputy chairman.