Turkey tells IMF not to dictate policy
Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said earlier this week the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should not dictate economic policies to the Turkish government with which it has a stand-by credit agreement.
His remarks followed calls for tighter wage control and higher electricity prices from an IMF official here and anti-IMF protests in the south of the country in which 40 people were detained.
"It is natural for institutions like the IMF for whose support we have asked to express their concerns or put forward advice," Ecevit told reporters here.
"But Turkey's economic, financial and social policies are determined not by international organizations but the Turkish state together with the related groups of the society," he said.
Ecevit's statement followed remarks by visiting IMF Turkey desk chief Carlo Cottarelli that Ankara should restrict wage hikes and reform its tax system to put its troubled economy in order.
Turkish press reports have also quoted Cottarelli as saying that Ankara should raise electricity and oil prices.
"The foreign institutions whose support we expect should monitor the macro-economic balances that we have agreed on instead of imposing on us certain policies and solutions," Ecevit added.
Turkey and the IMF hammered out in December a three-year four-billion-dollar economic package of austerity measures aimed at reducing Turkey's chronic inflation and putting the country's economic house in order.
Inflation stood at 68.8 percent in 1999, and has so far fallen to 53.2 percent this year, although the government's aim was to reduce inflation to between 20 and 25 percent by year's end, 10 percent in 2001 and five percent in 2002.
"In recent months, the Turkish economy has gained an astonishing dynamism. We expect economic growth to reach at least six percent this year and maybe even a record level of 10 percent," Ecevit said.
In 1999, the Turkish economy contracted by around six percent as two massive earthquakes devastated the country's industrial heartland in the northwest adding to the existing recession.
Meanwhile, in Istanbul and the southern city of Adana on Monday police detained some 40 people in demonstrations against the IMF, Anatolia news agency reported. — (AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)