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ANKARA: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed Sunday to rein in high interest rates and inflation, which are decimating Turks' purchasing power.

Erdogan has gone against orthodox economic thinking as part of a "war of economic independence", arguing repeatedly that high rates push up inflation.

"Sooner or later, just as we lowered inflation to four percent when I came to power... we will reduce it again," Erdogan said during a weekend Turkey-Africa summit in Istanbul.

"But I won't let my citizens, my people, be crushed by interest rates," the Turkish leader said in a meeting with African youths, according to a video released Sunday.

"God willing inflation will fall as soon as possible."

The last time consumer prices reached around four percent was in 2011, but inflation has steadily risen since 2017.

Under pressure from Erdogan, the central bank has cut the main interest rate by 500 basis points since September.

The bank reduced the rate for a fourth time last week even though the annual inflation rate reached 21.31 percent in November, with experts predicting another rise this month.

The Turkish leader has called for lower interest rates to stimulate growth and production and boost exports.

The Turkish lira has taken a battering, losing nearly 40 percent in value against the dollar since the start of November with fears of a further devaluation.

The currency crisis has pushed many Turks below the official poverty line, and hundreds took to the streets in protests against the government's monetary policy in Ankara and Istanbul at the weekend.

Erdogan reiterated a vow to raise the net minimum wage by 50 percent next year.

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