Hundreds of homes and stores built for the victims of a major earthquake in Aegean Turkey last year will be handed over to their new owners on Friday, the country's president announced on Monday.
"We've completed the construction of a total of 741 independent sections, including 596 houses and 145 shops," Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said after a Cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara, adding that they were built for quake-hit residents of İzmir with an initial investment of 750 million Turkish liras (nearly $66 million).
"We built houses in İzmir with the same swiftness that we did in other disaster-hit areas. We carried out the greatest urban and earthquake transformation work in the history of İzmir," Erdoğan said at the Presidential Complex, where the Cabinet met.
Last November, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake rattled the İzmir province, leaving 115 people dead and injuring over 1,000.
Erdoğan added that 795 houses and 157 stores that remain will be completed as soon as possible and handed over to earthquake victims in the province.
ESCAPING 'VICIOUS' HIGH INTEREST CYCLE
On the country's economy, Erdoğan said the government is "determined to do the right thing" for Turkey via investment, production, employment, and an export-oriented economic policy, instead of the "vicious cycle" of high interest and low exchange rates.
"Price increases due to rising exchange rates don't directly affect investment, production, or employment. Competitiveness in the exchange rate leads to an increase in investment, production, and employment," he argued.
As a country with know-how and experience in financial crisis management, he said Turkey is decisively seizing opportunities that have emerged in the current critical times the world is facing, he said.
He also warned of opportunists making exorbitant price hikes by using the rise in exchange rates as an excuse.
"With the help of Allah and the support of our nation, we will emerge victorious from this economic war of liberation, just as we got our country out of all these traps and calamities," added Erdoğan.
He underlined that recently discovered natural gas reserves in the Black Sea strengthen hopes for solving Turkey's energy issue, which is the most important foreign currency expenditure.
The current account balance started to show a surplus, with employment rising by 2.28 million people in the third quarter of this year, he said.