A man named Ferhat Dolar reportedly applied to the Dalaman registry office in Muğla province to change his surname after the Turkish lira (TL) depreciated more than 40 percent against the US dollar this year amid a row between the US and Turkey over imprisoned American pastor Andrew Brunson.
Brunson is standing trial in Turkey on espionage and terrorism-related charges. Brunson’s 22-month detention has sparked a row between Turkey and the US that resulted in threatening tweets from US President Donald Trump, the imposition of sanctions on two Turkish ministers involved in Brunson’s case and a doubling of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Turkey.
The Turkish lira traded at 6,7250 on Thursday, having touched 6,85 after reports emerged of the resignation of Turkish Central Bank Deputy Governor Erkan Kilimci.
Speaking after filing the application to change his surname, Dolar said: “People recently started making jokes about my surname because of the US sanctions imposed on Turkey. Therefore, I decided to change my surname. People were cursing me, saying ’How much you are worth today?’, ‘You are flying today,’ ‘You took a nose-dive today’ and ‘Let’s hit Dolar on the head to crash it’.”
Dolar, a merchant from the western province of Muğla, said he never had any savings in US dollars. “I have had no dollars to sell, but I had a surname I could change, and that is what I’m doing.”
Meanwhile, the Turkish Central Bank’s deputy governor and Monetary Policy Committee member Erkan Kilimci is set to resign, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The Development Bank of Turkey released a document on Thursday showing Kilimci had joined its board. The central bank was not immediately available for comment on Thursday, a public holiday in Turkey.
The central bank has been under pressure from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan not to increase interest rates, despite high inflation and the Turkish lira having depreciated more than 40 percent against the dollar this year.