Turkish Finance Minister faces backlash after claiming US Federal Reserve controlled by 5 families

Turkish Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati has faced serious backlash from economists and academics after claiming that the U.S. Federal Reserve is not publicly owned, but is controlled by five families.

Duvar English

Turkish Treasury and Finance Nureddin Nebati has come under serious criticism on social media after claiming that the U.S. Federal Reserve is not independent, but is controlled by five rich families.

Nebati made the remarks during an interview with Ahmet Hakan's Tarafız Bölge (Impartial Zone) broadcast on CNN Türk on Dec. 29.

When Hakan asked Nebati if citizens should be worried about the weakening of the lira once again, the minister said: “This is a very good question. No, on the contrary, it is a good thing that the dollar is rising.” It was not clear what the minister meant by his remarks, creating confusion among citizens.

“The Central Bank in the United States does not belong to the public. It is in the hands of five families,” Nebati also said.

The Turkish minister's remarks were widely slammed by academics and economists, with former Central Bank governor Durmuş Yılmaz tweeting: “We have really gotten very tired.”

Future Party spokesperson Serkan Özcan, a former advisor to the president of the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK), said that it was very embarassing for Turkey for its economy czar to utter such a sentence.

“I have really gotten sad and embarrassed. The politician who has been managing the enormous Turkish economy uttered this sentence. No more remarks are needed,” Özcan tweeted.

Economist Uğur Gürses also commented on the incident, by sharing a webpage of the U.S. Federal Reserve answering the question of “Who owns the Federal Reserve?”

“By visiting television stations, the minister has been explaining how ineffective the government is....The laconic phrase of the night is that he said that the U.S. Central Bank Fed is under the control of five families. Let me leave this [referring to the webpage] if there is anyone who will believe the minister's this incorrect remark?” Gürses wrote.

Economist İbrahim Turhan also commented on the incident, by referring to the minister's previous remark that the economy was about the “glimmer” in his eyes.

During a TV interview with journalist Gülçin Üstün Can on Dec. 21, the minister had dodged questions on the economy's failing figures, by saying: "The economy is the glimmer in the eyes.”

In reference to these remarks, economist Turhan suggested that the objective of the Central Bank should be changed to “ensure the glimmer in the eyes” in the aftermath of the minister's latest interview.

“At the top of the Central Bank's internet website, it says 'The main objective of the Central Bank is to ensure price stability. After last night's program, I propose that it should be changed as follows: 'The main purpose of the Central Bank is to ensure the glimmer in the eyes,'” Turhan tweeted.

On Dec. 2, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan dismissed former Treasury and Finance Minister Lütfi Elvan, replacing him with staunch ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) supporter Nebati.

Previous reports revealed that Nebati has no economics education, wrote his Ph.D. thesis on AKP organizations and has been receiving more than 65,000 Turkish Liras monthly with his combined public and private salary.