US lauds new Turkish economic plan, urges speedy implementation
The United States on Tuesday, April 17, lauded Turkey's new economic reform plan, calling it "strong" and saying it contained "important steps" to rescue the country from its ailing financial state. In addition, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher praised Turkish authorities for their professionalism during furious protests against Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's embattled government and its handling of the economy.
The new economic program "contains important steps to stabilize Turkey's economy and establish sustainable public finances," Boucher said, referring to the plans announced Saturday in Ankara. "We welcome the announcement (and) we look forward to the implementation of these and other necessary measures," he told reporters, noting that the US Treasury Department and the International Monetary Fund had indicated support for the program.
Turkish Economy Minister Kemal Dervis announced plans to cut public spending by nine percent, decrease the state's debt burden, restructure its weak banking system and speed up privatization. The country's private sector on Monday hailed the program, with the Istanbul stock exchange's index rising by 438 points or 4.9 percent.
A financial crisis in February forced the government to redraw its economic plan after dropping a currency peg between the lira and dollar that underpinned an anti-inflation drive backed by the IMF. The lira has now fallen by 41.3 percent against the dollar, rebounding from a low of 47 percent last week. —(AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2001
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