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Bloomberg reporters in Turkey acquitted over 2018 currency crisis article

A Turkish court on Friday acquitted 33 people, including two Bloomberg reporters and other journalists from local media, of spreading false information about the economy in an article and tweets at the height of a currency crisis in 2018.

The case followed a criminal complaint filed in August 2018 by the BDDK banking watchdog over an article by Bloomberg about the effects of a sharp decline in the lira and how authorities and banks were responding.

Fercan Yalinkilic and Kerim Karakaya were on trial over the article, while others defendants in the case, including journalists Sedef Kabas and Merdan Yanardag, as well as economist Mustafa Sonmez, were tried for their tweets about the economy.

Turkey’s lira plummeted in 2018 on concerns over President Tayyip Erdogan’s influence on monetary policy and deteriorating ties between Ankara and Washington. In August 2018, it fell to 7.24 against the dollar, its lowest at the time.

At the end of last year, another currency crisis sparked by a series of rate cuts requested by Erdogan saw the lira fall as low as 18.4 before rebounding. The currency crisis stoked inflation, which hit 61 percent in March.

The defendants had always denied the charges.

The court ruled on Friday that the defendants’ actions did not constitute a crime and acquitted 33 defendants.