Ali Babacan, a former deputy prime minister and the head of the opposition Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), has commented on Turkey's 2005-dated move to scrap six zeros from the national currency.
Babacan said that the then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had learned about the economic management team's plan from newspapers back in 2003.
Babacan’s claim came after President Erdoğan targeted Babacan during a speech without explicitly giving his name and said: “There are those who try to own (Turkey's economics) success. Who are you? It was the then prime minister who dropped the six zeros from the Turkish lira. Who are you? What can you do if the PM does not give consent?”
In response to these remarks, Babacan said during a program aired on FOX TV that Erdoğan had "actually learned (in 2003) from the newspapers that six zeros will be removed from the money."
"He (Erdoğan) asked me the next day, 'What is this? Are you dropping six zeros from lira?’ I said yes. He replied, 'I wish you had told me and I had announced it (publicly).'”
“We held the ceremony of dropping six zeros at the Central Bank. If such a thing were to happen today, would the ceremony be held at the Central Bank or in the Presidential complex? The head of state does not have to know everything and meddle in everything,” Babacan added.
Turkey dropped six zeros from lira at the beginning of 2005, in a sign of progress in its decades-long struggle with inflation.
Babacan served as economy minister of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) between 2002-2007 and 2009-2011. He now often says that Turkey’s economy “advanced” and “prosperity increased” in the mid and late-2000’s under his command of economics. Whereas then PM, now President Erdoğan says that without him it would not happen, stating "I was the PM, I signed (the bills)."