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Kuwait denies injecting $1.6b to back lira

Kuwaitis slam calls by some religious figures to rise to ‘religious responsibility’ to help Turkish currency

Gulf News

Dubai: Kuwait has dismissed reports that it injected KD500 million ($1.6 billion or Dh5.87 billion) to back the Turkish lira which has been in free fall over deteriorating ties with the US.

In the meantime, Kuwaitis criticised calls by some religious figures to rise to their religious responsibilities and help the Turkish currency through donations and investments.

In a statement carried by Kuwait News Agency late on Monday, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Finance said that the meeting on Sunday evening between Finance Minister Nayef Al Hajraf and Turkish Minister of Treasury and Finance Berat Albayrak at Kuwait International Airport “did not touch upon a possible backing to the Turkish national currency”.

The two ministers addressed the latest economic situation in Turkey, where Kuwait has various investments, but did not make any financial or investment decisions, the statement added.

Turkish media reports confirmed that Albayrak had made “a swift visit to Kuwait to seek financial assistance amid Turkey’s mounting currency crisis, but has not secured it”.

According to the reports, Albayrak sought “a support package worth $1.8 billion from the Kuwaiti Finance Ministry,” but Kuwait “gave no promises.”

In Kuwait City, MP Ahmad Al Fadhl said that the call by some religious figures to support the Turkish currency as part of their religious duties was “the mother of all farces”.

In their call, several figures said that Kuwaitis had a religious obligation to donate to Turkey and boost investments and not to sell their properties “because assisting Turkey overcome its financial crisis is in the interests of the Muslim nation.”

“We do not have the slightest bit of hatred for Turkey or its people. We are very saddened by the difficult economic conditions they are going through and we wish them and the entire world peace and prosperity,” the lawmaker said. “However, we wonder: Is not it also a religious duty to support the Egyptian economy, which has been faltering for years? And what about the economies of Somalia, Yemen and other Muslim countries that have been suffering from poverty for decades and have not found any moral support or assistance from these preachers?”

The lawmaker said that these religious figures should take the lead and donate some of their money “instead of asking others to give up their savings”.

A blogger posted that he was shocked how some people wanted to use religion to further their personal agendas.

“What a shock! Supporting Turkey is a religious duty, but supporting other peoples in need is not. You cannot fashion religious edicts based on your interests.”

Another blogger deplored that “religious obligation calls” were missing when other countries were in need.

“When we helped Egypt and Jordan, we did it without any call from religious figures who did not utter a word, even though these two countries are Muslim and they share social, linguistic and family bonds with us.”

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