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Erdogan targets Turkish banks over economic crisis

Turkey’s president is blasting banks for making what he considers to be unfairly large profits, yet he overlooks his government's role in making it possible.
HAMBURG, GERMANY - JULY 08:  Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to the media at the conclusion of the G20 economic summit on July 8, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. G20 leaders have reportedly agreed on trade policy for their summit statement but disagree over climate change policy.  (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this week launched a fresh barrage of criticism and warnings at banks, charging that they are making unfairly large profits during a time of economic strain. Addressing the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the northern city of Trabzon on Aug. 8, Erdogan said, “Banks are not behaving themselves. We keep saying that interest rates must come down, but banks are using the citizens’ deposits almost as a means of fleecing them.”

Pointing to a significant increase in bank profits, Erdogan said, “Last year, after all the distress we went through, banks had a profit growth of 40%, which means there is a problem here. … Moreover, banks have almost doubled their profits this year. This is a disaster.” In a thinly veiled call to discipline the sector, Erdogan said, “I believe our Central Bank and public banks will take firms steps on this issue and pull this thing down.”

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