Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Says Worst Is Over for Economy

  • Mehmet Simsek says economy has shown resilience despite shocks
  • Says reforms will be the main drivers of growth going forward

Mehmet Simsek, Turkey's deputy prime minister, listens during a panel discussion at the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank in Washington, D.C., on April 20, 2017.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said that the nation’s economy will see better conditions going forward and promised to push ahead with new reforms that he considers the main drivers for growth.

Turkey has been rattled by political instability in recent years including five elections in three years, terror attacks and a government crackdown on opponents after an attempted coup last July. The government at the weekend won a narrow victory in a constitutional referendum that expanded the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“The worst is behind us,” Simsek said during a panel discussion at the International Monetary Fund spring meetings on Thursday. “We will do much better going forward.”

Talks between the European Union and Turkey over deeper trade integration are expected to begin this year, Simsek said. “We have a customs union with the EU, but we want to expand it and upgrade,” he said. “Hopefully sometime this year we will begin negotiations.”

Turkey Economy

Simsek, a leading architect of Turkey’s economic agenda over the past decade, has long promised a series of reforms to make the $857 billion economy grow faster and reduce a current-account deficit that leaves the country vulnerable to the swings of foreign-currency inflows.

On the same panel of emerging economy ministers, Ukrainian Finance Minister Oleksandr Danylyuk said his government faces “enormous” challenges, some of which are beyond its control, but there is also much that can be done through domestic reforms. State-owned firms will need to be sold off and the farming sector will see land reforms.

Mauricio Cardenas, Colombia’s Minister of Finance and Public Credit, cautioned against over optimism on the outlook for growth.

“We hope things are going to improve in terms of growth but I don’t think we can say that with a level of confidence,” he said.

— With assistance by Onur Ant

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