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Customers can pay in lira at Schaerbeek restaurant

16:22 16/08/2018

If you’ve got a few lira laying around from your holiday in Turkey, head on over to Dönerico in Schaerbeek. The eatery specialises in doner kebabs and is currently allowing customers to pay with lira instead of euros.

Owner Seyfettin Erdem, who opened Dönerico on Rue Josaphat five months ago, told De Standaard that he wanted to “support Erdogan” in the ongoing economic crisis in Turkey, made worse recently by increased import tariffs imposed by the United States. “It is a symbolic support campaign for my country,” Erdem told the paper, to protest the “anti-Turkish attack being carried out by foreign interest groups.”

Dönerico is accepting one lira as one euro, although the current exchange rate is 14¢ per lira. This means it is operating at a loss for those transactions, which is illegal under Belgian law.

“I am looking into how I can do this within the law,” said Erdem (pictured). “If necessary, I’ll make up the difference myself.”

So far no one has taken Erdem up on his offer because, he says, they don’t want to take advantage of him. But he doesn’t mind paying the difference, he says, as he sees it as a “charity initiative”.

De Standaard points out that the act has no effect on the Turkish economy, which has been steadily becoming worse over the past 12 months. Even so, a bar in the neighbourhood is considering doing the same thing.

Written by Lisa Bradshaw