The International Monetary Fund may increase its financial assistance to Turkey following an announcement by Turkish authorities of fresh confidence-building measures, IMF head Horst Kohler said. "Based on the implementation of strong policies I would be willing to recommend to the (IMF) executive board that additional resources be made available to Turkey," Koehler, the IMF managing director, said in a statement late Thursday.
Turkey is currently receiving disbursements from a $3.7 billion credit approved by the IMF in December 1999. The Fund's executive board is scheduled to meet later this month to consider the release of new installments worth $566 million.
IMF spokesman Thomas Dawson said Friday that the "additional resources" mentioned by Koehler meant "a net additional (amount) beyond the existing arrangement," adding that the Fund would move quickly on the Turkish situation. "I think it's clear that this is on a fast time track," he told a briefing here. "I think that in the next few days you can expect to be hearing more from us on Turkey," he said, declining to provide details of the possible increase in assistance.
Elsewhere in his statement Koehler said two IMF missions were leaving this weekend for Turkey to help the government implement banking reforms. Faced with a plunging stock market and worries on international markets that the lira might have to be devalued, Turkey on Thursday announced new measures designed to shore up investor confidence.
In addition to recommitting itself to anti-inflation steps, the government said additional taxes had been approved along with the privatization and rehabilitation of three struggling public banks. "The measures announced ... by the Turkish authorities show their commitment to the program with the IMF," Koehler said.
"We particularly welcome that the conduct of monetary policy is once more consistent with the framework agreed under the program." The IMF made the 1999 credit available to Turkey after it agreed to certain economic reforms sought by the Fund. — (AFP, Washington)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)