IMF chapter will not be reopened, says Erdoğan
The era of Turkey taking out loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is long since gone, the Turkish president has said.
“Turkey closed its IMF chapter in May 2013 and, God willing, it will not be reopened,” Recep Tayyip Erdoğan yesterday told the parliamentary group of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Erdoğan slammed claims by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) that Turkey would seek to negotiate with the IMF after the local elections set for March 31.
“It is clear who has gone to the IMF. Those that have the CHP mentality; they have gone to the IMF,” he said.
Some six years ago Turkey paid off the entirety of its debt to the international lending institution.
Last week, the country’s Treasury and Finance Ministry also ruled out any deal with the Fund.
Turkey’s path will not have to cross the IMF’s for either loans or technical support, the ministry said in a statement on its website on Feb. 1.
“It is very clear that the motive for bringing up the IMF is a certain misinformation operation which lacks any consistency,” an operation mounted despite Turkey’s favorable indebtedness ratios, debt rollover ratios, and financial discipline performance,” the ministry added.
Stressing that the Turkish economy is solid, the ministry said Turkey is continuing its stabilizing period successfully with no need for external support.
Erdoğan also said the CHP’s shares in Turkish private lender İşbank would be transferred to the state Treasury.
“Political parties are not allowed to engage in banking activities. This is very clear,” Erdoğan said.
“This parliament will take that decision [soon],” he added.
After the death in 1938 of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic, his 28.1 percent stake in İşbank was transferred to the CHP.
The CHP does not take any share of profits from İşbank, but has four seats on its administrative board.
İşbank is the country’s largest listed private bank by assets.
According to the information on the lender’s website, İşbank Pension Fund, acting on behalf of both active and retired bank employees has 40.12 percent share in the bank’s capital while 32.78 percent of shares are traded on the stock exchange.
Shares in İşbank declined some 7 percent following Erdoğan’s comment, but later recovered. İşbank shares were trading 6.4 percent lower at 5.39 Turkish Liras ($1.04) per share as of 3:15 p.m. local time.
During his speech at the parliamentary group meeting, Erdoğan also hailed Turkey’s economic performance, noting that the per capital income has jumped to $11,000 from $3,500.
“We are aware of the problems. The volatility in exchange and interest rates and inflation in the past months caused some hardship to people’s daily lives. Those economic fluctuations happened not because of the country’s realities but because Turkey came under an attack. However, the country defeated those attacks,” he said.
The president vowed to take necessary measures to curb the increases in the prices of vegetables and fruits.
“We have decided to intervene on the prices if necessary and we will take those measures through municipalities. We have to provide our citizens with cheaper products,” he said, adding that Turkey can overcome such a crisis with its own resources.