Erdogan suggests Moody's can be 'bought' after downgrade

Erdogan suggests Moody's can be 'bought' after downgrade
Credit rating agency Moody's decision to downgrade Turkey's credit rating to "junk" status was politically motivated move, President Erdogan has alleged.
2 min read
29 September, 2016
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested that the ratings agency was corrupt [AFP]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has hinted that one of the world's biggest credit rating agencies can be "bought off".

The attack came after Moody's downgraded Turkey's sovereign debt rating to "junk" status.

Turkey's rating was downgraded by one notch on Friday to the speculative or "junk" level of "Ba1" because of the country's political turmoil and unpredictability.

The country has suffered a series of attacks by Kurdish and Islamic State group militants this year, as well as the attempted coup in July by a rogue military faction which tried to oust Erdogan from power.

The president said the economy continued to strengthen and see investments, dismissing the downgrade's impact.

"Drop Turkey's rating however much you want," he told the agency.

He appeared to suggest that the ratings agency was corrupt during a televised speech in Ankara to Turkish neighbourhood heads in charge of local administration.

"Put three-five cents extra money in their pockets and get the rating you want. This is how they work. We know where they get their instructions, we will always speak the truth," he said.

The president didn't indicate who was giving instructions.

Put three-five cents extra money in their pockets and get the rating you want - this is how they work
- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim hit out at the ratings downgrade at the weekend while Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said it was a "political" decision on Monday.

Erdogan's remarks were in stark contrast to his deputy prime minister Mehmet Simsek who is in charge of economic affairs, who said that Turkey took the rating downgrade seriously and that Moody's "did not act hastily".

Simsek said: "It's not trivial but it's not the end of the world."

He said that the downgrade was not prompted by the attempted putsch.

Simsek, a former finance minister, told the official news agency Anadolu that Turkey needed to implement structural reforms rapidly.

"Instead of an emotional response, Turkey will try to solve the structural problems. If we implement structural reforms within one or two years, the outlook will turn positive and ratings will start to rise."