‘Turkey to make difference by reducing public debt’

‘Turkey to make difference by reducing public debt’

Mehmet Şimşek

September 02, 2010, Thursday/ 16:51:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN
Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek has said Turkey will be one of the rare countries where the ratio of public debt to gross domestic product (GDP) will decrease. Speaking at the first session of the three-day “Global Economy after the Crisis: Challenges and Opportunities” conference organized by the Turkish Economy Association (TEK) in Girne, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), on Wednesday, Şimşek assessed the Turkish economy’s performance over the last couple of years. He said the country recovered from the impact of the global financial crisis faster than expected. Turkey realized a growth of 6 percent in the last quarter of the crisis year 2009. The country posted an even higher growth in the following three-months, seeing an 11.7 percent growth in GDP in the first quarter of this year.

Şimşek also noted that the biggest problem the world faces in the wake of the global economic crisis is unemployment but that Turkey is showing a rather impressive performance in alleviating the jobless rate, too. “Economic growth creates employment, as opposed to the trend in the rest of the world,” he added. According to the most recent Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) data, Turkey’s unemployment rate dropped to 11 percent in May, 2.6 percent lower than in the same month of last year.

The number of unemployed people in the country fell below 3 million for the first time since November 2008. Şimşek said the key to Turkey’s success in keeping the effects of the global financial crisis low and swiftly recovering from it thereafter is its strong banking sector, which was strengthened with measures taken following lessons drawn from the economic crises of 2000 and 2001. Şimşek also reminded his audience that Turkey is the only country whose credit rating increased twice in times of crisis. He added that this year will be a year of significant growth for Turkey.

TEK’s conference attracted many Turkish and foreign scholars to the KKTC. Among the speakers yesterday were International Economic Association (IEA) President Masahiko Aoki from Stanford University, Professor Guillermo Calvo from Columbia University and Seth Carpenter, the director of the Board of Governors at the Federal Reserve. For his part, Aoki said Turkey is a bridge between the East and the West and that economists should be aware of that “unique advantage.”

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