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TURKEY


 

Key Economic Data 
 
  2002 2001 2000 Ranking(2002)
GDP
Millions of US $ 182,848 147,700 199,300 24
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 2,500 2,530 3,080 95
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Turkey

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km) 
780,580

Population 
68,109,469

Capital 
Ankara 

Currency 
Lira 

President 
Ahmet Necdet Sezer 

  

Update No: 088 - (27/08/04)

Turkey at the Olympics
The Olympic flame was first lit centuries ago in Athens, the birthplace of the Games where in athleticism, shot put, high and long jump bare-footed athletes competed in Athens for the first time under the auspices of an organization. Those who were successful received awards and those who lost, deferred their hopes to the years ahead.
This old city is the cradle of the Olympic Games. The flame has travelled far and wide, but it returned again to burn in Athens. As may be remembered, Istanbul was also very keen on hosting the 2004 Olympics, but luck was on its neighbour's side. The Olympic Games kicked off with a very colourful ceremony on August 13, and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife were in the stands.
One aspect of the ancient Games that is not as well known as it ought to be is that for the duration of the tournament a truce reigned during which diplomats arranged for longer lasting peace. This irenic function of the Games has never been in greater need than today. 
Fortunately Turkey and Greece are in excellent, cordial relations right now. Athens backs Turkey's EU aspirations whole-heartedly these days.

Economy on the mend
The Turkish economy is looking up after a bleak period in the early 2000s. Turkey is still a very poor country by European standards, the very standards by which it has come to judge itself, ever since the days of Ataturk (1923-38), who did so much to modernize the country, its script and language, its religious and cultural mores and its social topography.
But the economy has always been a harder nut to crack.

IMF: Strategy is working; but job not finished yet
Impressed with Turkey's recent economic performance, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Executive Board of Directors approved a new €661m loan package on July 30th, the eighth instalment in a €19bn programme aimed at helping the country's economy. IMF Turkey senior resident representative, Odd Per Brekk, told Turkish Daily News that the programme results clearly show the strategy is working; however, he stressed, "that of course does not mean that the job is finished."
Questioned about the changes in the Turkish economy, Brekk told the Turkish Daily News that certainly the previous government, and now the current government, have made a lot of progress in stabilising the economy and laying the basis for sustained growth. Stressing that sustained growth is the main objective of the programme, Brekk said that one of the main accomplishments during this period is the very large increase in the public sector primary surplus which has enabled the government to manage the debt very effectively.
"It has generated the resources to manage the debt. But by improving confidence in the financial markets, it has also helped reduce real interest rates. In that way this is a very important lesson - that a tight fiscal policy has actually helped the strong growth. As you know the economy has recovered better than expected from the crisis. This is to a large extent because of the tight fiscal policy, not in spite of it," he added.
Praising central bank policies and the success of Central Bank Governor, Sureyya Serdengecti, Brekk said one important indicator of monetary policy success is that the difference between expected inflation and the target has declined very radically since the programme started in early 2002.
"The target for inflation was 35 per cent. The expectations were more than 50 per cent. Now the expectations are inline with the target. I think this is a very important sign of the confidence in the central bank, and it's also a major accomplishment, especially when you think about how Turkey has had decades of very high inflation," Brekk said.
Brekk also said there has been major restructuring of state banks and that they are no longer conducting policy on behalf of the government. He stated that the establishment of the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency in late 2000 was very important as it brought regulations and supervision standards much closed to international and European standards. Brekk, however, underlined one area where they were disappointed - privatisation and possibly the private sector business environment.
"We are talking about red tape, how the judicial system works and the protection of property rights and these kinds of things. There's a whole agenda there, that together with privatisation is probably where there's less progress than expected," he said. Brekk concluded that the accomplishments until now, in many ways prove that the programme strategy is working.

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AGRICULTURE

Turkey, Afghanistan to cooperate in agriculture

Turkey and Afghanistan signed a memorandum of understanding envisaging cooperation in agriculture, Anatolia News Agency reported recently.
Releasing a statement, the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said that Turkish Agriculture and Rural Affairs Minister, Sami Guclu, and Afghan Agriculture Minister, Sayd Hosayn Anwari, signed the memorandum. Under the memorandum of understanding, a Turkish agriculture expert will be sent to Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the two sides decided to speed up preparatory works for a "Protocol of Technical, Scientific and Economic Cooperation in Agriculture". The protocol is expected to be signed by Turkish and Afghan ministers in December of 2004.

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CREDIT RATINGS

S&P affirms ratings on Dogus Holding

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said that it has affirmed its B- long-term and C short-term counterparty credit ratings on Turkey-based conglomerate Dogus Holding AS, New Europe reported. 
The affirmation follows the recent announcement that Dogus has ceased negotiations with Italy-based Banca Intesa SpA (A/Stable/A-1) for the latter's purchase of a majority stake in Turkish bank Turkiye Garanti Bankasi (Garanti; foreign currency rating B/Stable/-). "We believe that Dogus' holding-company debt is reasonably covered, based on the market value of publicly traded banking, retail, and automotive assets," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Emmanuel Volland. Corporate gross debt at June 30th, 2004, was US$1.16bn, 35% of which was short term. The stable outlook balances the improving economic and financial environment in Turkey with the group's substantial leverage and debt maturities in the near term.

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ENERGY

Turkish, Georgian premiers discuss Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline

The importance of the timely completion of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline for both Turkey and Georgia was stressed during a tete-a-tete meeting of Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his Georgian counterpart, Zurab Zhvania, and meetings between Turkish and Georgian delegations in Tbilisi recently, Anatolia News Agency reported.
Sources said that Turkish and Georgian delegations mainly discussed the BTC project during their meetings co-chaired by Erdogan and Zhvania. Erdogan drew attention to importance of the project especially for Georgia and said foreign entrepreneurs would start coming to Georgia after completion of the pipeline.
Stressing that the project was also important for functioning of the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum-Shah Sea project, Erdogan said that Turkey was the third leading country investing in Georgia after the United States and Britain. Stressing that Turkey attributed great importance to Georgia's territorial integrity, stability and security, Erdogan said Turkey was ready to contribute to the solution of Ossetia problem.
Expressing the importance that Turkey attached to preservation of Turkish artefacts and historical monuments in Tbilisi and Batumi, Erdogan said that the agreement between Turkey and Georgia on prevention of double taxation should come into force as soon as possible.
Erdogan said Turkey also attributed importance to the Kars-Tbilisi railway project and added that they were interested to construct and operate jointly the Batumi airport. 

Turkish company to import 6-7m tons of crude oil from Iran by Jul 05

Turkish Oil Refineries Joint Stock Company will import six to seven million tons of crude oil from Iran as of August 2004 to July 2005, according to managing director of the company, Hessameddin Danesh, IRNA web site reported. 
Danesh told reporters that this is the biggest oil deal Turkey has signed with an oil exporting state. 
He said Turkey had signed a protocol with Iran a year ago for import of 5.5m tons of oil. 
He added that under the new deal, 3m tons of oil imported from Iran would be of light type. 
Danesh said 24.5m tons of crude oil are to be refined at Turkish oil refineries this year, a figure that will reach 25m tons in the next Christian year.

World Hydropower centre to be built in Istanbul

The "World Hydropower Centre" will be constructed in Istanbul, Turkey, sources said on August 1st, New Europe reported recently. 
International Hydropower Association (IHA) Chairman Prof, Dr Nejat Veziroglu, said the centre would be constructed in Istanbul in line with a protocol signed between the Turkish Ministry of Energy and National Resources and the United Nations International Development Organisation last May. The IHA was founded in 1995 to advance knowledge on all aspects of hydropower and to promote good practice. Noting that finalisation of the centre would take 3-4 years, Prof Dr Veziroglu said: "The centre will coordinate studies at hydropower implementation centres to be established in the United States, the People's Republic of China, Africa and Argentina. Hydropower is considered future's energy since it does not cause pollution and it is not limited like the other energy resources."

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FOREIGN ECONOMIC COOPERATION

Turkey, Libya sign economic cooperation protocol

Turkish State Minister, Kursad Tuzmen, and Libyan Secretary of the General People's Committee for Workforce, Training and Employment, Muhammad Ma'tuq, signed Turkey-Libya 19th Term Joint Economic Commission (JEC) Protocol on 6th August, Anatolia News Agency reported.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Tuzmen said that under decisions in the protocol, a legal basis of economic and commercial relations between Turkey and Libya would be formed as soon as possible. Tuzmen said that under the JEC protocol, the two countries would sign a mutual encouragement of and protection of investments agreement this year and the prevention of double taxation agreement in January of 2005. Noting that the Turkish Petro-Chemistry Corporation (Petkim) would import some petrochemistry products which it was importing from third countries, directly from Libya, Tuzmen added that Turkish and Libyan experts would hold a meeting in September 2004 on Libya's benefiting from the Manavgat Project. 
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Abdullah Gul, met Muhammad Ma'tuq. Speaking to reporters after the meeting in the Foreign Ministry, Ma'tuq said that they targeted to enhance relations between Turkey and Libya. 
Noting that they should have close cooperation in areas of joint interest, Ma'tuq said that mutual consultations about strategic matters of the region were important. Ma'tuq added that Turkish and Libyan foreign ministers would pay mutual visits and the first one would be paid by Gul.

Turkish premier views political, economic ties with Georgia

Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, returned from Georgia to Turkey on August 12th. Erdogan told reporters at Ankara's Esenboga Airport that they aim to expand foreign trade volume between Turkey and Georgia to US$1bn in a short time, Anatolia News Agency reported.
Erdogan said that they held beneficial bilateral meetings besides meetings between Turkish and Georgian delegations.
Noting that businessmen of two countries also held meetings and chairmen of business councils convened, Erdogan said: "We have expressed that we support them for the investments to be made in Georgia and joint investments. Regarding the problems experienced so far, our state minister told all of our businessmen that he would solve all those problems. Our businessmen were pleased with that clear speech."
Erdogan said that regarding the close relations between the two countries, Georgian president, prime minister and parliament Speaker were very sensitive.
He added that foreign trade volume between the two countries has reached US$426m as of the end of 2003 and both countries aimed to increase this amount to US$1bn as quickly as possible. Erdogan noted that the Joint Economic Commission (JEC) meeting will be held in September and a calendar will be set for this target.
Noting that they discussed Turkey's help regarding the political problems of Georgia, Erdogan said that Georgia was positive about the issue and expected Turkey's assistance.
Erdogan said that they went to the Sarp border pass with Georgian President, Mikhail Saakashvili, and they visited both sides of the border pass and talked with Turkish and Georgian personnel. He added that they have reached consensus that passes from the gate should be faster and it should become more active.
Noting that State Minister, Kursad Tuzmen, would make necessary initiatives about the issue, Erdogan said that he hoped that they would make Sarp border pass more productive and active. Erdogan said that Turkish businessmen have investments which were not completed in Batumi and added that they visited the locations of those investments. Noting that necessary support was provided for the solution of these problems.
Noting the difficulties which Georgia experiences, Erdogan said that Turkey would provide necessary assistance and Georgia was pleased with that.
Erdogan said that they have agreed that Georgia would benefit from Turkey's political, military, economic, commercial and cultural experiences and the two countries would take steps in the interest of both countries.
Erdogan said that they reaffirmed the importance which Turkey attributed to the territorial integrity, stability and prosperity of Georgia. He added that Turkey would do its best to solve all disputes by dialogue and on the basis of territorial integrity of Georgia.
Noting that they held meetings about the Abkhazia issue, Erdogan said that Georgia expects support from Turkey on this issue. He added that Georgia also expects support regarding the Southern Ossetia issue. Erdogan said that it was important that Turkey undertakes a peaceful role in such problematic issues and added that Georgia was positive about the issues regarding Abkhazia Turks, but that it needed time.

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FOREIGN LOANS & AID

IMF approves US$661m loan to Turkey

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Executive Board completed the eighth review of Turkey's economic performance under the Stand-By Arrangement, and released another tranche of loan worth of US$661m, Anatolia News Agency reported.
Releasing a statement following the meeting of 24-member Executive Board, the IMF said: "The Executive Board of the IMF today completed the eighth review of Turkey's economic performance under the Stand-By Arrangement."
"The decision will enable Turkey to draw US$661m from the IMF immediately, bringing total disbursements to US$17bn under the arrangement," it added.

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TRANSPORT

Turkey, Kazakstan sign new transportation deal, to set up joint company

Turkish Foreign Trade Undersecretary, Tuncer Kayalar, said recently that transportation problems with Kazakstan had been solved, Anatolia News Agency reported.
Kayalar, who went to Kazakstan between the 2nd and 5th August, gave an evaluation of his visit to an Anatolia correspondent.
Kayalar said that they discussed foreign trade, transportation, energy, commercial and economic issues during his visit. He added that the transportation problem with Kazakstan was solved.
Recalling that under the agreement which was earlier signed with Kazakstan, 3,000 trucks were allowed to pass free, Kayalar said that under the new agreement which was signed between Turkey and Kazakstan, a Turkish-Kazak it was decided to establish a joint transportation company.
Kayalar met Kazak transportation minister, education and science first deputy minister and energy and natural resources first deputy minister during his visit to Kazakstan. He also attended a meeting which was held with the participation of Turkish businessmen in Kazakstan.

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