Turkey’s Finance Minister resigning in second surprise after lira skid

Turkey’s Finance Minister resigning in second surprise after lira skid

Central bank chief was removed by Erdogan on Saturday

ANKARA (Reuters) — Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said on Sunday he was resigning for health reasons, in an Instagram statement confirmed by an official, marking a second weekend surprise after the central bank chief was ousted on Saturday.

The statement came after a 30% plunge in the lira currency’s value this year to record lows as the economy faces a sharp contraction during the coronavirus pandemic. In the early hours of Saturday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan – who is Albayrak’s father-in-law – replaced the central bank governor.

“I have decided that I cannot continue as a minister, which I have been carrying out for nearly five years, due to health problems,” the statement said. Albayrak became finance minister two years ago after serving as energy minister.

Two sources at the presidency could neither confirm nor deny the statement when reached by Reuters, but a Finance Ministry official confirmed its authenticity.

The lira – the worst performer in emerging markets this year – firmed 1.5% to 8.415 against the U.S. dollar at 1814 GMT.

Albayrak, 42, was appointed energy minister in 2015 and shifted to finance after Erdogan was re-elected with sweeping new executive powers in 2018.