Babacan: "Further democratization is needed to triple Turkey's per capita income to $30,000"


In opening remarks at the Istanbul Finance Summit yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan said economic policies alone aren't enough to raise Turkey's per capita income to $30,000, as further democratization is also needed. Stating that Turkey has become one of the world's most talked-about countries, Babacan said, "Last week we took part in a summit on UN Millennium Development Goals in New York. Looking at the development goals set at the summit 10 years ago with 2015 as the deadline, we see that Turkey has already reached those goals." Stressing that in recent years Turkey has become an inspiration not only in terms of its economic performance but also in its domestic reforms and democratization, Babacan said, "We shouldn't rest on our laurels of our current $10,000 per capita income, but instead should restructure Turkey for per capita income of $30,000 in the years to come." Turkey cannot reach this goal through economic policies alone, he said. "No matter how good our economic policies, Turkey can't reach its desired prosperity level without making reforms in some critical areas. Further democratization of the country and Turkey having a stable democratic system is at the top of those critical areas." Turning to sanctions on Iran, Babacan reiterated Turkey's stance that it will fully obey UN-imposed sanctions but not comply with unilateral sanctions declared by third countries. "These unilateral sanctions aren't binding on Turkey, and our companies and banks are completely free to evaluate the impact of these unilateral sanctions on their work in the countries in question. Our companies and banks don't have to follow these unilateral sanctions but are completely free to decide whether they will continue doing business with Iran by considering if those unilateral sanctions negatively affect their business with the countries in question and their international contacts." Speaking at the same meeting, Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek said Turkey is rapidly emerging from the global economic crisis. "Right now we're enjoying a good economic performance, and there are signals that Turkey will achieve stronger growth than Europe in the mid-term," he said, adding that this performance is no fluke but the result of the solid economic policies and structural reforms of the last eight years. Stating that economic officials are continuing to take a cautious stance to avoid troubles with the world economy, Simsek also said they're working to ensure a rational economic performance in the months to come. In related news, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn stressed the need to redistribute power within the IMF, and to give developing countries, which increasingly play a key role in the global economy, a stronger say in the Fund's management. Making more room for developing countries on the IMF's Executive Board would be fair, he said, citing Turkey as an example in this respect. "Turkey securing a seat on the board would make sense," he stated.