Turkey to Investigate JPMorgan Over Charges It ‘Caused Volatility’ in the Markets

ISTANBUL — Turkey’s banking regulator has announced that it will begin an inquiry into JPMorgan Chase for providing “misleading and manipulative” investment advice that, it said, prompted a run on the Turkish lira last week.

The Banking Regulation and Supervision Board issued a statement saying it had received a large number of complaints about a JPMorgan research report to clients on Friday that “caused volatility in the financial markets and loss of reputation and value especially for the banks of our country.”

The lira, which has been slipping in value over the last year, slumped more than 5 percent on Friday, dropping in value to 5.7 to the United States dollar from 5.4, while Turkey’s main stock exchange fell 3.45 percent.

The board said its investigation would also look into activities of other banks, but it did not name them.

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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressing an election rally in Istanbul on Sunday. He has accused unnamed actors in the financial sector of trying to provoke a run on the lira.CreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has frequently accused foreign powers of orchestrating the currency crisis, and at a huge campaign rally in Istanbul on Sunday, he accused unnamed actors in the financial sector of trying to provoke a run on the lira.

“We all know who you are, we all know what you are all doing,” he said. “You should know that after the elections, we will make you to pay a heavy price. You would not be able to exploit this nation. You would not be able to cheat this nation.”

Economists, though, say a loss of confidence in the management of the economy and rule of law in Turkey is behind the weakening of the lira.

It is unclear how the inquiry will progress or what penalties could be imposed, but the board said it would undertake “necessary administrative and legal proceedings.” In a related announcement, the Capital Markets Board of Turkey said it was conducting its own investigation into JPMorgan over the same report.

JPMorgan analysts warned in the report that the Turkish lira might depreciate soon after local elections scheduled for Sunday. A spokesman for JPMorgan declined to comment.

In a sign of its concern at the renewed volatility in financial markets, Turkey’s Central Bank announced on Friday that it would suspend one-week repo auctions — closing the spigot on one source of cash for banks — for a period of time, which analysts called an unusual move.

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Berat Albayrak, Turkey’s minister of finance and Treasury and the president’s son-in-law. “A healthy environment that would provide security for international markets has settled in Turkey,” he said.CreditAssociated Press

Turkey has experienced severe economic pressures over the last year, and government figures released this month showed that the country had entered a recession, defined as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. The lira lost 28 percent of its value last year as foreign investment stalled amid soaring private sector debt.

Mr. Erdogan, who has assumed increased powers since winning re-election last summer, announced that he would take on greater responsibility for the economy and even decisions at the Central Bank. He appointed Berat Albayrak, his son-in-law, minister of finance and Treasury.

Mr. Albayrak said in a television interview on Friday that Turkey had already resolved its most pressing vulnerabilities: inflation and budget discipline. “A healthy environment that would provide security for international markets has settled in Turkey,” he said, promising a period of reform over the rest of Mr. Erdogan’s five-year term. “Our way is open. We are very comfortable.”

Even as inflation and unemployment figures have risen sharply, Mr. Erdogan has been undeterred, personally leading two or three rallies around the country a day for his Justice and Development Party. The election campaign has been especially nasty, with mudslinging and lawsuits leveled at candidates as polls show a close race in some of the most important cities, including the capital, Ankara.

At the campaign rally on Sunday, Mr. Erdogan vowed to fight outside influences trying to weaken the economy.

“Beware, folks, do not take their words for it,” he said. “We will protect our money. Our money is the Turkish lira. We will protect it. We will not rise to the bait. And we will make them pay the price.”

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