Turkey’s Erdogan tells ministers to stop using U.S. firm McKinsey

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ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday he had ordered his ministers to stop receiving consulting services from U.S. firm McKinsey, after the deal came under fire from the main opposition.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara, Turkey, October 2, 2018. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Last month, Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, who is also Erdogan’s son-in-law, said Turkey had decided to work with McKinsey to help implement a new medium-term economic program.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), this week accused Erdogan of siding with U.S. firms at a time when relations with Washington have been hit by the detention of an American pastor in Turkey and other issues.

“This person (Kilicdaroglu) is trying to corner us by asking questions about a consultancy firm that has been paid in full to help our economic management,” Erdogan told members of his ruling AK Party.

“In order to not give him that chance … I told all my ministers to no longer receive consultancy from them (McKinsey),” he said.

McKinsey was not immediately available for comment.

The row with the United States has exacerbated pressures on Turkey’s lira, which plunged more than 40 percent this year over concerns about Erdogan’s influence on monetary policy, relations with Washington and the central bank’s ability to reign in double-digit inflation.

Erdogan has cast the devaluation in the lira as an “economic war” against Turkey by foreign powers, and has warned of action against those believed to be speculating on the economy or taking advantage of fluctuating exchange rates.

“Despite being subject to one of the biggest economic attacks in history, we managed to largely pick things up within two months,” Erdogan said on Saturday.

Turkey was open to investment and support, as long as any deals did not impinge on its sovereignty, Erdogan added.

Last week, Erdogan paid an official visit to Germany in an attempt to mend strained ties at a time when the row with Washington has led to reciprocal trade restrictions and sanctions.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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