Jan 08 2019

Erdoğan says Turkey to restructure credit card debt via state bank

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced a series of measures designed to revitalise the economy, including financial help for people with credit card debt.

Turks who owe money on their credit cards can apply to state-run Ziraat Bank for a loan to cover the debt, Erdoğan said in a televised speech to members of his ruling party at the parliament in Ankara on Tuesday.

“The debts of citizens who are having repayment problems will be collected under a single umbrella, via Ziraat Bank,” Erdoğan said. “They will pay off their debt with a loan from Ziraat and will pay it back according to the level of their monthly earnings.”

The government, preparing for local elections at the end of March, is seeking to spare Turkish citizens and companies the worst effects of an economic downturn that saw the economy shrink by 1.1 percent on a quarterly basis in the three months to September.

Erdoğan said that Halkbank, another state-run lender, will lend 22 billion liras ($4 billion) to 350,000 small businesses during 2019. About 10 billion liras of the loans will be granted in the first quarter of the year, he said.

The president said the government would also increase help for companies employing more than 500 people with social security payments. The proportion of social security payments met by the government would increase to 5 percentage points from 3 percentage points, he said.  

Erdoğan also said the government would meet the costs of electricity bills equivalent of up to 150 kilowatts monthly for Turkish citizens receiving social aid.