Erdogan sacks Turkey central bank governor

Murat Cetinkaya who was appointed to lead Turkey's central bank in April 2016 had been replaced by Murat Uysal

Turkey removed its central bank governor Murat Cetinkaya and replaced him with his deputy, a presidential decree said on Saturday.

According to Reuters news reports, Turkish central bank governor Murat Cetinkaya, serving since April 2016 as the governor, was ousted from his role and been replaced by deputy governor Murat Uysal, as per a presidential order published on the official gazette.

The Turkish leader called for lowering the interest rates to boost the economy, describing high rates as "the mother and father of all evils". "The bank's decision in June to keep rates constant added to the problem with Cetinkaya", a senior government official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

President Erdogan has repeatedly railed against high interest rates and called for them to be lowered in a bid to stimulate growth.

The Turkish economy shrank sharply for the second straight quarter in early 2019, amid soaring inflation and unemployment.

The opposition Republican People's Party spoke out against the removal of Cetinkaya, with spokesman Faik Oztrak accusing the president of interfering in the independence of the central bank.

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'I agree on the independence of the central bank but let me put it very clearly that I am against interest (rate) policies and above all, high interest rates, ' he said.

Turkey's currency hit record lows in the past year, which has the effect of raising the prices for many everyday items.

Annual inflation hit a 15-year high in October above 25%, but later dipped and is now running just over 15.5%.

The Turkish lira has lost 10 percent of its value against the dollar this year.

In a statement, the central bank said on Saturday that the bank will remain independent and that the new head of the bank will also continue to pursue the goal of the central bank, price stability.

While the central bank emphasized its independence, a senior banker who did not want to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue, said the sacking raised questions regarding the bank's authority. "We will be watching the bank closely in the coming period", the Istanbul-based banker told Reuters.

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