By Manolis Kostidis – Istanbul
In a move which directly contradicts the “free economy” principles applied in his country’s economy, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called Turks not to use credit cards in order to avoid helping the “interest rate lobby”.
“You all talk about credit cards. You pay interest on them. The poor people pay this money. They take a card and before the end of the month money for the interest rates run out. They are playing a big game and we must end it. If we do that, banks will lose this revenue”, Erdogan said.
The Turkish Prime Minister basically opposes certain private banks of the Koc group, and others, which didn’t support the government over the Gezi incidents and took the side of protestors. Erdogan accuses these Groups of being part of the “interest rate lobby” and he fights them any way he can, which is evident in his speeches urging people to fight them too.
The Koc Group had opened the doors of the Divan Hotel to protestors who were trying to escape police attacks. This move was considered a direct aid to protestors by the government. This particular group owns Yapi Kredi Bankasi, Turkey’s second largest bank.
A third of Turks – about 23.6 million people – are poor or destitute, according to a recent report released by the Ministry of Family Affairs & Social Policy.
The country’s population stood at 75.6 million in 2012, according to data released by the Statistical Authority of Turkey.
More than 6.3 million people receive social benefits, according to stats. More than 19.5 billion Turkish liras (7 billion euros) is allocated for social welfare, according to estimates.