‘S&P apologizes to Turkey as Israeli did’

‘S&P apologizes to Turkey as Israeli did’

ISTANBUL – Anatolia News Agency
Standard and Poor’s (S&P), the credit ratings agency that has recently upgraded Turkey’s notch, apologized to Turkey just like Israel did, Turkey’s Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan has said.

“S&P is trying to save its reputation and it apologized to Turkey as Israeli did. I call it ‘Double S&P’ because it is an institution that applies a double standard,” Çağlayan said at the meeting of Turkish Enterprise and Business Confederation (Türkonfed) on March 30.

Çağlayan criticized the agency that gave the same notch to Turkey as the Philippines, Croatia and Romania. He appealed to both S&P and Moody’s to revise Turkey’s notch “to save their reputation.”

S&P upgraded Turkey’s sovereign debt rating to just one step below investment grade on March 27. The agency lifted Turkey’s sovereign credit rating to BB-plus from BB with a stable outlook, citing a rebalancing economy and progress in a Kurdish peace process and noting that its external financing requirements had declined thanks to strong exports and a drop in domestic demand.

However, Moody’s has made it clear that Turkey’s ongoing vulnerabilities were holding the country back despite Turkish investors expecting a possible upgrade by the agency.

Fitch is the only ratings institution among the top three to have kept Turkey in the “investible” category. It upgraded Turkey to an investment grade of BBB in November, citing its moderate and declining levels of public debt.

Free trade deal

Çağlayan said Turkey should get involved in the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement between the United States and the European Union. If the parties did not allow Turkey to participate, then the country should set forth its final opinion to the EU, he said.

Speaking at the same event, Turkey’s EU Minister Egemen Bağış said Turkey would not allow the EU’s bilateral agreements to cause unfair competition for Turkey.

The U.S. and EU launched moves on Feb. 13 to open negotiations on a new free trade pact that seeks to eliminate or minimize barriers everywhere. The free trade agreements between the EU and third parties enable these other countries’ goods to enter European markets or Turkish markets via Europe with zero duties, but the decision to provide the same privileges to Turkey is up to the discretion of the third party.

Turkey exported around $5.6 billion worth of goods to the U.S. while importing $14 billion in 2012, according to figures.