Babacan: "Investors trust Turkey more than many European countries"
The Turkish economy is trusted both at home and abroad, with investors finding it more trustworthy than many European countries, Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan said yesterday. Addressing the 26th Trans-Atlantic Conference held by US think-tank the Franklin Center for Global Policy Exchange in cooperation with the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB), Babacan said, "Thanks to the measures it took amid the global economic crisis, Turkey made an early recovery from many problems which continue to plague developed countries," and criticized credit agencies for failing to give Turkey its due. Stating that Credit Default Swap (CDS) rates of such European countries as Belgium, Italy, Spain and Portugal are much higher than that of Turkey, which has fallen up to 1.2 percent so far, Babacan said investors see Turkey as a safer investment haven than many European countries. Stressing the importance of domestic stability and confidence, Babacan said, "Turkey's consumer and producer confidence indexes have returned to pre-crisis levels. This is behind Turkey's economic growth in the post-crisis era." Babacan also pledged that the government would determinedly continue its economic policies aimed at keeping confidence at home. "Once confidence is damaged, it takes years to restore," he added. Also speaking at the meeting, TOBB head Hisarciklioglu complained about lagging Turkish-US economic ties. Stating that the US share of Turkey's exports fell from 7.3 percent in 2002 to 4.8 percent in 2008, showing a loss of momentum in trade ties, Hisarciklioglu said, "We place great importance on strengthening the economic aspect of the model partnership approach to relations between Turkey and the US proposed by President Barack Obama. In this context, we extend strong support to the Framework for Strategic Economic and Trade Cooperation between Turkey and the US." On a new round of UN-imposed sanctions targeting Iran's controversial nuclear program, as well as unilateral US and European Union sanctions, he stressed that Turkey opposes Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, and will fully abide by UN sanctions, but that Turkish firms doing business with Iran in areas not subject to UN sanctions are free to continue doing so after weighing the pluses and minuses. Hisarciklioglu also stressed that Turkish firms doing business with Iran in no way contribute to the production of nuclear weapons. In related news, Turkey's uninterrupted industrial production growth reached its tenth month. A strong precursor of economic growth, industrial production rose 10.4 percent in September year-on-year. Total industrial production saw a 13.7 percent increase in the first nine months of this year, signaling that economic growth could hit 8 percent at year's end.