The International Monetary Fund's number two, Stanley Fischer, praised Turkey's progress Friday, July 27, in the implementation of a tight Fund-backed program to put the crisis-hit economy back on track.
"We discussed that the program is succeeding," said Fischer, the IMF first deputy-managing director who arrived earlier Friday for two days of talks with officials and businessmen.
He was speaking after meetings here with Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, his coalition partners Mesut Yilmaz and Devlet Bahceli and other officials. "A great deal has been done in the restructuring of the banking system. Important structural measures have been undertaken in the agricultural sector and in Turkish Telekom," Fischer said.
He added that fiscal policies were successful, that inflation was coming down and exports were expanding. "These were very encouraging meetings with the leaders of Turkey, from which the IMF will take a great deal of encouragement that this program will be carried out and that the government fully intends to stand by all its obligations," Fischer said.
The IMF chief stressed he got a "very central message" from all three leaders of the Turkish government, whose credibility has recently nosedived due to frequent wrangling over the IMF-sought reforms.
The far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) of Bahceli has often blasted the IMF for meddling in Turkey's affairs and has been openly resentful of Economy Minister Kemal Dervis, who is leading the recovery drive.
But Fischer said that "each of the leaders emphasized their full support for the economic program... which they intend to carry out in full with the support of the international community."
By the end of the year, Turkey is expected to receive $15.7 billion from the IMF and the World Bank to battle serious economic woes that started with a liquidity crunch in November and culminated in a full-blown crisis in February.
Fischer said the IMF and Ankara did not envisage any major changes in the stand-by program, sealed in May.
Fischer's visit was aimed at some "fine-tuning" in the program and at displaying confidence in the reforms, the head of IMF's Europe department, Michael Deppler, said in an interview with the Milliyet daily published on Friday. ― (AFP, Ankara)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)