Turkish president seeks to soothe markets

Published February 22nd, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer expressed support Wednesday, February 21, for efforts to contain financial turmoil following a fierce row between the president and government. 


"The president maintains his hope that the economic program, implemented decisively by the government, will keep the economy functioning on a healthy ground," a statement from Sezer's office said. 


"The president supports the steps towards preserving the implementation of the program," which was inaugurated last year under a three-year four-billion dollar stand-by deal with the International Monetary Fund, it added. 


A dispute between Sezer and Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit on Monday over how to fight corruption sparked fears on Turkey's financial markets of political instability. 


The markets had just begun to recover from a severe liquidity crunch in November. The turmoil wreaked havoc at the volatile Istanbul Stock Exchange, which plunged 18 percent on Wednesday as interest rates soared in response to a liquidity squeeze. 


Ecevit said he had asked the president to make a statement to calm down the markets. The prime minister convened a meeting with senior economy official to outline a strategy to tackle the crisis, which threatens to derail the government's IMF-backed economic program aimed at putting the ailing Turkish economy in order. — (AFP, Ankara) 


© Agence France Presse 2001

© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)

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