Turkish business leaders called on the government to resign Tuesday, April 10, because it had lost people's trust by failing to avert an economic crisis.
"The reason for the current situation of the economy is the failure of the political leadership to carry out the necessary structural refoms despite all warnings," said a declaration issued by the Turkish chambers of commerce and commodity exchanges federation TOBB. "Trust in the government has decreased. The government should do what is necessary and resign," it said.
The TOBB accused Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's three-way coalition of delaying privatization and vital banking reforms, and imposing unsuitable policies dictated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The declaration, which is to be submitted to the parliament speaker, came at the end of a meeting of some 350 TOBB members to evaluate a raging economic crisis.
There had been widespread speculation that TOBB, which has some 1.3 million members across Turkey, would demand the government's resignation following a visit by TOBB chairman Fuat Miras to the army general staff on Monday.
The Turkish press said that during the visit Miras had asked the army — which wields heavy influence in domestic politics — for their views on the economic situation.
At the start of Tuesday's meeting, Miras heavily criticized the government for mishandling the economy and implied that a change of power was necessary to put the system back on track. "The government was at fault. For this reason it could be asked to resign," he said.
The Ecevit government has come under heavy criticism at home after it abandoned a pegged currency regime and floated the lira last month to contain a severe liquidity crunch.
The currency has so far lost some 40 percent of its value against the dollar, pushing inflation up and sending frustrated shopkeepers on to the streets in protest against rising prices.
Ankara's decision also disrupted a three-year disinflation program backed by a four billion-dollar (€4.5-billion) loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and forced a revision of macro-economic targets.
Turkish Economy Minister Kemal Dervis, who was brought in to lead the recovery efforts, is expected to announce a new economic program this week. That program is to be submitted to the IMF for a final approval in late April. — (AFP, Ankara)
by Hande Culpan
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)