Saudi Arabia says it deposited $5B in Turkish central bank

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia said Monday it deposited $5 billion into the Turkish central bank, likely helping Ankara firm up its long-weakening currency, the lira, after last month’s massive earthquake that struck southeast Turkey and northern Syria.

The kingdom made the announcement via a statement on the state-run Saudi Press Agency, describing it as “a testament to the close cooperation and historical ties that exist between the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Turkey and its brotherly people.”

The statement offered no details on how the cash would be used or if the kingdom could call for the sum to be returned. However, such deposits can help firm up exchange rates for a nation’s currency against other currencies internationally.

Turkey has been struggling with high inflation and a weakening lira even before the Feb. 6 earthquake and many of its strong aftershocks. A year ago, $1 bought you 14.26 lira. Today, $1 is worth 18.90 lira.

The quake killed around 50,000 people — the vast majority in Turkey. Close to 204,000 buildings either collapsed or were severely damaged in Turkey, leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless.

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