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Unrest at the Helm: The Turkish Central Bank’s Tumultuous Saga

“When we have briefing meetings with our President, I said to him, ‘Tell us three areas, we will boost them. Just like you paved the way in the defense industry which you see as strategic, tell us the areas you see as strategic, and we will support them.’”

When I saw the statements of Hafize Gaye Erkan, the Governor of the Central Bank, in her interview with Ahmet Hakan, the Editor-in-Chief of Hürriyet, I thought, ‘What speed!’ The speed of adaptation was even faster than I thought when I read the news about her parents’ working hours at the bank.

It’s being alleged that her father Erol Erkan occupied the office of a deputy governor, used powers including staff appointments and dismissals, and that there was a camp and a private kitchen allocated to the family; it’s even claimed that meals were sent to their home from the bank. The issue exploded onto the agenda after a complaint was made to the Presidential Communication Center (CİMER). A former employee, Büşra Bozkurt, claims she was threatened with dismissal by Erol Erkan for not accepting a transfer(!) and eventually lost her job.

The allegations leaked from CİMER! It could be considered normal if we think that the country is managed like a family company, and that President Erdoğan’s wife and children share the ministries and act like real deputy presidents. However, Erdoğan is a manager who thinks ‘Do what I say, not what I do.’ He never wants partners or employees who create their own domain. He desires to be surrounded by yes-men. That’s why he makes those who eat without his knowledge vomit; even if it is Binali Yıldırım…

The way the allegations were leaked and subsequent events show that despite all the adaptation speed, Governor Erkan’s waters are heating up. CİMER is completely under control and there must be a reason for the leak of the news from there; it’s preparing the ground for new developments. If it was an unplanned leak, Büşra Bozkurt would have been silenced by persuasion or threat.

The fact that Hafize Gaye Erkan is not defended by the ruling party, even in a defensive tone, strengthens the thesis that ‘her ticket is cut!’ Who will replace her is already being discussed before she leaves. The names Cevdet Akçay and Hatice Karahan are circulating in the corridors. Both are names that have penetrated deeper into the AKP.

Will Erkan be the new ‘scapegoat’? Before the local elections, Erdoğan needs a ‘scapegoat’ and the taps to be opened a little. They couldn’t do this for retirees because it would be an irreversible opening. A temporary and false spring is needed with one-off expenditures. The closest election is 4 years away and they are in the mood of ‘We will do something by then.’ Following the news that the orders of Erdoğan were not warmly received by the Minister of Treasury and Finance Mehmet Şimşek, his most important bureaucrat, who started the job together with him, turned into a ‘lame duck.’ This also carries a warning for Şimşek.

The Erkan Family’s formation of a defense line through Uğur Dündar and similar figures only speeds up the process. Dündar writes that parents had to stay at the bank until late hours because ‘a babysitter should not be hired for Hafize Gaye Erkan’s baby.’ I find it an absurd reason. Surely Gaye Hanım has enough money to hire a babysitter. Also, it’s not acceptable for the baby to stay at the bank for hours. Moreover, which public servant can bring their baby to work like Hafize!

The blunder she made in Ahmet Hakan’s interview, saying, “I moved in with my mother in Istanbul because I found the rents too high,” also got her into trouble. When journalists pursued the question, “Can’t the bank rent a house for its president?” it was discovered that despite the provision of a lodge, a luxury residence was rented in Ankara for 50,000 lira. Interestingly, her justification was also her child…

Her job is difficult unless the Emir of Qatar intervenes! One of the biggest mistakes of the family is presenting their move from the USA to Turkey as a great loss and favor. Whereas initially, they had created an atmosphere that they came with patriotic feelings. It was strange for someone who took responsibility with those feelings to agree to be a ‘prop’ for the Erdoğan regime. Waiting for ‘targets and orders to surge’ from Erdoğan also showed that her mission was nothing but mediating between the regime and usurers.

Hafize Hanım made such big blunders that even Şimşek does not defend her. So much so that when Odatv’s news, “The news is served by the Mehmet Şimşek group,” was denied, the silence regarding the allegations about Erkan continues. Everyone, starting with the minister, seems to have accepted that ‘the last exit before the bridge’ was missed. It will be difficult to return from here; unless the Queen of Qatar, who was a reference for her hiring, puts her weight behind it…

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