Turkish PM calls on banks to lower interest rates

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim speaks during a joint news conference with his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras after their meeting at the Maximos Mansion in Athens, Greece, June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Costas Baltas

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has said banks should ease interest rates or the government will take measures, state-run Anadolu news agency reported, as Ankara seeks to boost economic activity.

“I am making the last call before the train leaves: either you adopt a reasonable interest rate or we will take measures,” Anadolu cited Yildirim as telling a meeting of the Istanbul Chamber of Industry on Wednesday evening.

“Our bankers should not regard this as a threat. We have instruments at our disposal,” he added, without specifying to what he was referring.

President Tayyip Erdogan has described himself as an “enemy” of interest rates and repeatedly called on banks to lower lending costs to spur the economy.

Earlier this month, the central bank kept its main interest rates steady, in line with market expectations, as it looks to balance double-digit inflation with Erdogan’s calls for cheaper credit.