Erdogan Calls Businessmen Moving Assets out of Turkey As ‘Traitors’
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan castigated some of the Turkish businessmen as “traitors” for attempting to move their assets out of Turkey amid looming signs of a potential economic crisis.
As Turkey’s financial markets slide toward an uncharted territory amid brewing concerns of a major fallout from a sanctions-busting trial in New York City, some of the companies have allegedly begun to park their assets and investment elsewhere in Europe.
President Erdogan harangued them for that and called on his cabinet to block such steps immediately.
“I get some news, signals. I hear that some businessmen are trying to move their assets abroad. I’m calling from here, I’m calling on my cabinet first. You should never let any of them go out,” the president said, urging the government to halt any transfer of assets acquired in Turkey.
“Because these steps are a betrayal of the homeland.” His depiction reflects his belief that whatever earned in this country must remain here.
“We cannot view those people who earn in this country but move their assets elsewhere positively.”
There was not a specific name or company during his speech in which he harried the main opposition party, excoriated the U.S. for the trial of Turkish nationals and portrayed moving assets out of the country as an act of treason to Turkey.
Turkey’s relations with the U.S. descended into a lingering state of discord. After Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian gold trader who became a “star witness” in the sanctions-evasion trial began to drop revelations about Mr. Erdogan’s role in the entire scheme, Turkey has brought the issue to a new level bound to further exacerbate the current tension.
On Saturday, pro-government Daily Sabah reported that the Turkish authorities are contemplating to bring the case to the United Nations, arguing that Turkey’s sovereignty has been breached.
According to Ankara, the case against nine Turkish defendants on charges of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran lacks any legitimate legal ground as evidence used in the courtroom was “obtained illegally from Turkey.”
“The evidence was fabricated,” and “it was moved out of Turkey to the U.S prosecutors through illegal ways” constitute the main touchstones of the Turkish argument.
So infuriated by the Zarrab revelations that the Turkish leadership moved to seize the businessman’s assets in Turkey on the ground that he revealed Turkey’s state secrets as part of espionage on behalf of a foreign country.
The Turkish government depicts the entire trial as a sinister plot to undermine the Turkish economy, its wobbly banking sector and undercut political fortunes of its leader ahead of presidential elections in 2019.
Economic ramifications and the potential fallout for Turkey’s banking sector loom large in the minds of the Turkish leaders as they braced for containing the possible damage at home.