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Turkish police thwart ‘terror attack’ at Erdogan’s rally

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ISTANBUL:

Turkish police found a bomb under the car of a riot police officer assigned to work at an event attended by President Tayyip Erdogan in eastern Turkey, the state-owned Anadolu news agency reported on Saturday.

The device was reportedly discovered in the small city of Nusaybin, on the Syrian border, from which the officer had been due to drive 200 km (125 miles) northeast to Siirt, where Erdogan later addressed an outdoor audience.

The car was parked at the officer’s home in Nusaybin. The bomb was defused and an investigation was launched, Anadolu reported.

Hamza Dag, deputy chair of Erdogan’s ruling AK Party, said police had delayed releasing the information to avoid a public backlash.

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In his speech in Siirt, Erdogan said he hoped that volatile foreign-exchange and inflation rates would stabilise soon, after a historic selloff in the Turkish currency, the lira.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday he hoped that volatile foreign-exchange and inflation rates would stabilise shortly and he again promised low interest rates, after a historic plunge in the lira currency to record lows.

The lira shed some 30% over the last month in a selloff driven by aggressive interest rate cuts that Erdogan sought, but that economists and opposition politicians say are reckless in part due to soaring inflation.

“God willing we will stabilise all fluctuations in prices and forex rates in not such a long time,” Erdogan told an audience in the eastern city of Siirt.

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“Tayyip Erdogan said low interest rates yesterday, says low interest rates today and will say low interest rates tomorrow,” the president said. “I will never compromise on this because interest rates are a malady that make the rich even richer, and the poor even poorer.”

The currency touched a record intra-day low of 14 to the dollar on Tuesday and logged a record close on Friday, at 13.7485. It is by far the worst-performing currency in emerging markets this year after having shed 45% of its value.

Inflation jumped to a three-year high of 21.3% last month, leaving Turkey’s real rates deeply negative, a red flag for fleeing investors and for Turkish savers who have flocked to hard currencies to protect their wealth.

Despite opposition calls for early elections and a policy reversal, Erdogan has repeated in recent weeks that rate cuts are needed to boost exports, credit, jobs and economic growth.





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