‘Economic reforms on track’

Today’s Zaman - Having seen a record $22 billion in foreign direct investment last year, top Turkish political and economic leaders assured foreign investors that Turkey is right on track in terms of its reform process. In separate meetings held in Istanbul, both government and central bank heads vowed to keep the tight fiscal and monetary policies intact despite external pressures from rising oil and food prices. Separate remarks also signaled that there is strong agreement between the government and the independent central bank, disproving claims that a rift has recently developed between the two centers of economic policy. Speaking at the fifth annual meeting of Turkey's Investment Advisory Council (YDK), Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his government would keep working to reach its goals despite global and domestic uncertainties. He stressed that Turkey has reached a place where it can properly implement decisive and disciplined policies for long-term targets. He also said the Turkish economy had grown at an average annual rate of 6.7 percent over the past five years and that its total export expectations for the year had exceeded $120 billion as of the end of last month. He vowed that his government would continue to implement tight monetary policies and structural reforms. This year's YDK meeting brought together top-level executives from 18 multinational companies with combined revenue of approximately $755 billion as of 2007, in addition to high-ranking officials from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. Giving a presentation at the meeting, Turkish Economy Minister Mehmet Simsek said, "Turkey's growth rate has been better than that of Hungary, Poland, Spain, Portugal and Italy since last year."