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Marc Champion

Does Erdogan Really Believe In an Interest-Rate Lobby?

The question that really matters in Turkey right now: Does Erdogan believe what he says?

(Corrects name of association in first paragraph.)

At a meeting of the European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association in Istanbul today, Turkey's Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek got a zinger of a question: "Is it time to call the doctor?" asked Jochen Wermuth, chief investment officer at Wermuth Asset Management.

Wermuth was referring to the notion being promoted by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government that a bizarre international conspiracy provoked recent protests in Turkey. He cited one particularly odd claim, from a pro-government Turkish commentator, who said the German airline Lufthansa was in on the plot because it wanted to prevent construction of a huge third airport for Istanbul and so avoid competition for its hub in Frankfurt.