Turkey says decision on vital foreign aid coming soon
Turkey's Economy Minister Kemal Dervis said on Wednesday, November 14 that international finance organizations were poised to make an important announcement on additional financial aid to Turkey.
Dervis told MPs in a speech at the parliament's budget commission that he believed Ankara would be successful in attaining long-term, low-cost loans to back up an economic recovery program which aims to decrease a massive debt burden and achieve positive growth.
"We are waiting for an important announcement on this issue from international finance organizations today (Wednesday)," the minister said. Dervis did not give further details, but the Turkish press speculated that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had agreed to give Ankara additional financial assistance of at least nine billion dollars.
Turkey has been grappling with severe economic problems since February when a banking sector crisis forced the government to abandon a pegged exchange rate regime, disrupting a disinflation program backed by the IMF.
Since then, the lira has lost more than 50 percent of its value against the dollar and chronic inflation has soared while the economy is expected to shrink up to eight percent this year. In May, the three-party coalition in power put into force a program of tight reforms to put the economy back on track with multi-billion-dollar aid from both the IMF and the World Bank.
But recently, Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit has said that Ankara needed "a comprehensive amount" of additional financial support to help bolster the country amid global economic turmoil in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Observers say that the chances of Ankara getting more aid from foreign donors have been bolstered through Turkey's full support to the US-led drive against terrorism as the only Muslim member of NATO.
Dervis' remarks came amid talks with an IMF delegation in Ankara to evaluate progress in economic reforms before releasing $3.1 billion under the May stand-by deal. If the deal remains on track, Turkey will have received a total of $15.7 billion in aid from the IMF and the World Bank by the end of the year. — (AFP, Ankara)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)