An International Monetary Fund (IMF) official arrived in Ankara Sunday, April 8, for talks on Turkey's revised economic targets and reforms in the wake of February's economic turmoil, the Anatolia news agency reported.
Carlo Cottarelli and Turkish officials, led by Economy Minister Kemal Dervis, were expected to put the final touches on a new economic program that officials have pledged to finalize by mid-April.
The modification of macro-economic targets and the introduction of comprehensive reforms became inevitable in February when a severe financial shake-up, sparked by fears of political instability, forced the Turkish government to float the Turkish lira.
The decision disrupted an IMF-backed disinflation program in place since December 1999 and caused the currency to lose more than 30 percent of its value against the dollar, pushing inflation up. Experts say the government could be forced to revise its 2001 inflation target, set at 12 percent in the original program, to some 40 percent.
Last month Dervis, a former World Bank vice president brought in to lead the recovery efforts, announced a series of priority measures aimed mainly at reforming Turkey's ailing banking sector, blamed for recent financial woes, and speeding up privatization.
Since taking over the economy portfolio, Dervis has been lobbying for a foreign aid of some $10-$12 billion to support the reform process. But the IMF and international creditors have made it clear that any assistance will depend on a credible reform project by the Turkish government. — (AFP, Ankara)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)