Former IMF chief Fischer: “Turkey a hot spot for investment”

Today’s Zaman - Former International Monetary Fund (IMF) First Deputy Managing Director and Israel Central Bank Governor Stanley Fischer, who once called Turkey a “sick man” during the banking crisis in 2001, has stated that Turkey has progressed greatly and that it became a hot spot for investment after 2001 with the efforts of the Turkish government and central bank. Fischer made comments on the ongoing global crisis and the Turkish economy at press conference with Turkish reporters in Jerusalem on Tuesday. He said Turkey may be facing different problems every day but that it should look at itself objectively. “You can see that Turkey has grown a lot and carried out important reforms like social security,” he said. Fischer emphasized that Turkey had reduced the inflation rate and created economic stability with an IMF-backed program. He said to work with the IMF does not only mean to borrow funds, noting that the program had enhanced Turkey’s credibility and that the lira gained strength against other currencies. Fischer stated that although the interest rates seem high at around 17 percent, it should not be forgotten that they came down from a level of 60-70 percent. Fischer said the privatizations were great opportunities for foreign investments. “The financial crisis in 2001 did not last very long. The Turkish Central Bank worked hard and I believe the interest rates will drop further,” he said, adding that Turkey had become a good investment market.