IMF meeting with Turkey’s opposition stirs debate

IMF meeting with Turkey’s opposition stirs debate

IMF meeting with Turkey’s opposition stirs debate

A meeting held between officials of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Turkish opposition parties has drawn accusations by the government that it was a “secret meeting”.

The top IMF officials met with representatives of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and İYİ (Good) Party as part of its Article 4 consultation, an annual economic assessment of each of the fund’s member countries. 

Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) group deputy chair Mehmet Muş criticized last week’s meeting, saying, “The CHP, of course, can hold such a meeting. But why is the meeting being held in hotel rooms discreetly.”

Responding to the AKP claims, CHP deputy chair and spokesperson Faik Öztrak said, “We did not have a secret conversation. If Mr. Raci [Kaya, the fund’s executive director appointed by the Turkish government] is not aware [of the meeting], it’s his problem.” 

Opposition parties are also interlocutors of the IMF as much as the government is, according to the IMF’s Article 4, he said. The invitation was submitted by the fund, he said, adding that IMF officials also meet businesspeople and academics, besides the opposition.

Durmuş Yılmaz, a former Central Bank chairman and current İYİ Party lawmaker, said he met with the delegation upon the invitation of the IMF.

Yılmaz stressed that the meeting was not confidential. “This is a visit by the IMF to determine the overall state of the economy in Turkey and to share it with other 186 members of the fund. While doing so, they first meet with the government and government officials in charge of the country’s economic policy, followed by civil society organizations in Turkey and businesspeople.  We didn’t have a secret meeting. We answered the questions honestly from our perspective. ”

The Treasury and Finance Ministry also published a written statement, criticizing the meeting.

“While the constructive approach is shown and the practices that have been going on for years are obvious, it is not appropriate for the IMF delegation to hold various meetings without the knowledge of the ministry, and the necessary warnings have been given to the IMF representatives to ensure maximum transparency in the coming period. As such, it is not possible to understand that the CHP and İYİ Party allow the creation of an environment that is open to all sorts of dubiousness and rumors. The Turkish public has seen who is pinning hopes on the IMF,” the ministry said.