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Turkey's first female central bank chief faces potential axe amid nepotism claims

The question concerning Hafize Gaye Erkan's dismissal is increasingly not "if" but "when," observers say.
Turkish Central Bank Governor Hafize Gaye Erkan attends the Planning and Budget Commission of the Turkish Grand National Assembly in Ankara on Oct. 03, 2023.

Hafize Gaye Erkan, the Princeton-educated economist who was brought in last year to turn around Turkey’s flailing economy, may become the fifth central bank chief to step down in five years amid allegations of nepotism involving her father — an outcome that would potentially undermine investor confidence as the government seeks to restore economic stability amid rising inflation and a weakening currency.

The question is increasingly not "if" but "when" — that is, before the March 31 municipal elections in which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hopes to wrest Istanbul back from the opposition, or after, observers say.

Speculation that Turkey’s first-ever central bank governor would get the boot arose in the wake of a Jan. 18 article that ran in the pro-opposition daily Sozcu newspaper, which stated that a central bank employee claimed she had been wrongfully sacked by Erkan’s father, Erol Erkan, who has no official role in the bank and therefore lacks the authority to take such action. Busra Bozkurt petitioned the presidential department that deals with such complaints on Jan. 5, saying he dismissed her after she refused to quit her job in the bank’s protocol department to become his daughter’s personal assistant. 

Ongoing claims

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