(Bloomberg) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused his political opponents of making false allegations about the banking system, saying citizens have no problems in withdrawing their cash from lenders.
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“Can you tell me who hasn’t been able to withdraw his money from the bank over the past 21 years?” Erdogan told AHaber television in an interview on Friday, speaking two days before the presidential election runoff. His statement was an apparent response to Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, who warned of banking problems in case the incumbent is reelected. “They are engaging in fear-mongering,” Erdogan said.
Imamoglu, tapped by main opposition’s presidential candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu as a would-be vice-president, said on Wednesday that another Erdogan win could trigger a financial turmoil adding to the country’s cost-of-living crisis. “If we don’t want a process where the crisis is deeply felt at the banks on Monday in which the nation cannot withdraw its money, we have to work hard,” Imamoglu said in Istanbul.
Erdogan has come under fire for his unconventional economic views which have amplified woes of the economy. He secured 49.5% of votes in the initial round on May 14, just shy of the 50% threshold required to secure an outright win, giving him the advantage over Kilicdaroglu, who won 45%.
Earlier this week, regulators warned media outlets that statements “contrary to the facts” on lenders would constitute a crime. In separate press releases, the banking regulator and the markets regulator said those who spread such statements would face legal action. The Turkish Banks Association, meanwhile, said matters related to banking should be “above politics.”
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