Tuesday was a red letter day for Turkey, at least in the eyes of prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A little more than 10 years after he ascended to power in the wake of a financial crisis, with a country in hock to the International Monetary Fund to the tune of $23.5bn, Erdogan was pleased to announce that Turkey was paying off the very last instalment of the loan, a tad more than $400m.
“Turkey is today bearing witness to history,” he exulted, pointing out that Ankara had been borrowing from the Fund since 1961 and arguing that the series of loans since then had forced previous governments to make “serious concessions”. Continue reading »
Smiles all round on the faces of those officials of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development who successfully lobbied for their role to be broadened from their traditional stamping grounds in eastern Europe to Turkey, North Africa and beyond.
As any visitor to the organisation’s annual meeting in Istanbul on Friday would have seen, top officials from the likes of Poland, Ukraine and Russia were notable for their absence. But there to fill the gap were the prime ministers of Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan, not to mention the host, Turkey’s premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In the ex-Communist bloc, the EBRD is now old hat. In and around the Mediterranean, it still makes news. Continue reading »
At first sight the figures are staggering. In the space of a single day last week Turkey signed an agreement on a $22bn new nuclear power plant and concluded a €22bn tender on building Istanbul one of the biggest airports on the world.
No wonder there were proclamations about record-breaking investments as soon as last Friday’s announcements were made. Continue reading »
More good news for Istanbul’s ambitions to establish itself as a hub: even the internet is hearkening to its call. Fadi Chehade, chief executive of ICANN, the organisation responsible for running the domain name and IP address systems, announced on Thursday his group was setting up shop in Istanbul.
To be precise, ICANN is splitting its headquarters into three – the old base in Los Angeles, a new outlet in Singapore, and Istanbul itself, as a step towards a more global, and a more seamless operation. Continue reading »
Did Japan just win the protracted, $20bn plus contest to build Turkey’s second nuclear power plant?
As part of a regional tour, Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister (pictured), is due to visit Turkey on May 2 and 3, a stop which, because of the context, stands out. Continue reading »
Turkey’s central bank cut interest rates by more than expected on Tuesday – a move that highlighted pressures from both far afield and closer to home.
In some ways, the further-flung-factor was the more straightfoward one: the inflationary stance of Japan’s new prime minister is having a significant impact on Turkish monetary policy. What is more controversial is the role of Turkey’s own premier. Continue reading »
There is a new Great Game afoot and it is taking place beneath the sea floor of the eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey and Israel’s tentative reconciliation is a process so fraught that US Secretary of State John Kerry appeared in Istanbul at the weekend to chivvy the two sides towards restoring full diplomatic ties. But if the steps he set out can be taken — agreeing compensation for nine Turks killed by Israeli forces in 2010, avoiding inflammatory talk, exchange of ambassadors — then a whole series of changes could be unleashed from Damascus to Brussels. Continue reading »
In these difficult economic times, with disappointing jobs figures in the US and stagnation in the eurozone, the growth story of Turkey tells is a coherent one – or it would be, if all the country’s government signed up to it. Continue reading »
So is this where Turkey ends up? Balance of payments figures out on Tuesday show that the country had a $5.6bn current account deficit for the month of January.
While broadly in line with expectations that seems to confirms a pattern some may find unsettling: a year of big falls in the deficit has come to an end, and the still hefty monthly total is overwhelmingly financed by portfolio funds rather than foreign direct investment. Continue reading »
The plan is, in theory, to move from a 10-10-10 economy to a 5-5-5 one.
Not too long ago, Turkish officials were alarmed at an economy growing sometimes by an annual 10 per cent or more, with inflation to match and with a current account deficit at 10 per cent of Gross Domestic Product. It all looked unsustainable. Hence the push to bring inflation under control and limit the current account deficit, whilst maintaining reasonable GDP growth. Hence rough goal of 5 per cent growth, 5 per cent inflation and a 5 per cent current account deficit. Continue reading »
Turkey begins this week with two important developments for investors, officials and ordinary citizens. One is that the country now no longer faces the prospect of being suspended or blacklisted from an international financial body. The other is that a showpiece privatisation has been halted by order of prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (pictured). Continue reading »
Turkey’s central bank specialises in Solomonic decisions. Like the Biblical Jewish king, the bank’s approach to thorny monetary and financial questions is to give a bit to both sides in a dispute. The question, is, however, whether it cuts in equal halves. Continue reading »
That was quite a drop.
Turkey’s current account deficit, seemingly all but out of control in 2011, plunged in 2012. According to central bank statistics released on Wednesday, the total fell from $77.2bn in 2011, just about the highest in the world outside the US, to $48.9bn last year. Continue reading »
After years of inaction and with just days to spare, Turkey has finally passed a law on terror financing that has been the subject of bitter criticism at home and ever more urgent demands abroad.
Whether the measure will satisfy anyone, however, has still to be seen. Continue reading »
Some striking figures about air travel and Turkey’s place in the world were released on Monday. Istanbul’s Ataturk airport is growing at a pace unrivalled by any of the other big European hubs.
With 44m passengers passing through its gates last year, Ataturk is now the continent’s sixth biggest airport and judging by monthly data from Airports Council International Europe is poised to overtake Madrid and, soon after that, Amsterdam. Continue reading »