4/7/2008

Turkey, IMF deal to send strong message

Bloomberg- Turkish Economy Minister Mehmet Simsek said the government would accept close International Monetary Fund (IMF) monitoring of its economic program after its current $10 billion loan agreement expires next month. Turkey may sign an accord with the IMF that would make loans available should the country need them, entailing “significant conditionality” and sending “almost as strong a message” to investors as renewing the present credit accord, Simsek said in an interview in Ankara. A fresh agreement with the fund will signal that the ruling Justice and Development Party remains committed to IMF-backed economic policies such as selling government industries, even as prosecutors try to close the party, Simsek said. The government will press ahead with a program of asset sales this year, Simsek emphasized. Turkey is offering electricity distribution and generation networks, rights to operate bridges and highways and a stake in telephone company Turk Telekomunikasyon AS. The sale of Turkiye Halk Bankasi AS may be more difficult to complete because of the financial troubles of global banks, Simsek noted. "It takes two to tango,'' Simsek said of the Halk Bank sale. "Market conditions are of course relevant."
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