Turkey's Economy Minister Kemal Dervis left for Germany on Thursday, March 22, where he will meet German officials and financial circles to seek aid in support of a revised economic program to overhaul the battered economy, the Anatolia news agency reported. "We will try to find foreign financial aid," Dervis told reporters before leaving for Berlin, the agency said.
Dervis, a former World Bank vice president who was appointed economy minister last month to tackle the severe economic crisis, was expected to meet German Finance Minister Hans Eichel, the report said. After his talks in Berlin, Dervis will travel to the United States for talks with US and International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials over aid. He is expected back in Turkey on March 29.
In the face of a liquidity squeeze triggered by fears of political instability, the Turkish government last month abandoned a pegged exchange rate and floated the lira, in breach of a three-year IMF-backed anti-inflation plan in place since December 1999. Since then, the lira has lost around 30 percent against the dollar amid rising prices and prospects of extra budget expenditure.
Last week, Dervis announced a series of priority measures, designed primarily to clean up Turkey's overcrowded and weak banking system, seen as the main source of financial woes. Officials have said that Turkey would need foreign financial aid to implement the required reforms, particularly to cover the huge losses of three public banks.
Turkey announced on Monday that it had agreed with the IMF on the framework of a revised economic program, in what was seen as an another step to regain foreign confidence after flotation of the lira. Dervis said that Turkey would outline the details of the program by mid-April and submit a letter of intent to the Fund. The IMF executive board would discuss the program in late April. —(AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)