Since 1989 Turkey has been a free market economy and business people have had a right to move their capital abroad, the Turkish president says.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday said that he has not given any orders to put restrictions on the movement of capital outside the country.
His speech follows comments on Sunday which sparked criticism that businessmen who move assets abroad are committing "treason."
"What I am talking about is that our businessmen should show a patriotic stance at a time when there are attempts to put our country under economic pressure in addition to other attacks," President Erdogan said.
"If not now, then when will they protect the Turkish economy?" he asked at a gathering in Ankara marking the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
"We have nothing to say against anyone who transfers resources abroad for investment purposes, or who seeks export opportunities, or engages in trade activities," Erdogan told a conference in the capital.
Erdogan also said that Turkey had adopted a laissez-faire economy since 1989 and every person had right to move their money abroad. "There is no doubt that this system will continue," he added.
The president called people linked to the terrorist PKK and the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO) – the group behind last year’s defeated coup in Turkey – who moved their money and national resources abroad "traitors."
Erdogan on Sunday said that he received some news that "some businessmen are trying to move their assets abroad … This is treason."
At Monday’s event, Erdogan also said how "proud" Turkey was that its business people were increasingly able to invest abroad.
Over the past 15 years, over $40 billion worth of investment was made abroad by Turkish business people, he said, adding that annual exports reached $155 billion as of November 2017.