Urging approval of reform package in sunday's referendum, Erdogan stresses that advanced democracy paves the way for advanced economy
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday received board members of the Turkish Exporters' Assembly (TIM), led by TIM head Mehmet Buyukeksi, at his office in Istanbul's Dolmabahce Palace. Speaking to reporters afterwards, Buyukeksi said that they told Erdogan about the general outlook of Turkey's exports, and the adverse impact of the overvalued Turkish lira on the country's trade abroad. They told him they expect the Central Bank to avoid risks posed by the lira's high value, he said, adding that they will meet with Erdogan again after the Ramadan Holiday to discuss a push by TIM to bring Turkey's exports to $500 billion by 2023, the centenary of the republic. Calling their meeting very fruitful, Buyukeksi said, "Premier Erdogan listened carefully to our requests and took notes. He especially noted our wishes regarding interest rates." Erdogan shares TIM's view that Turkey's further growth, increasing employment, and boosting industrial production are directly proportional to raising the country's exports, he added. In related news, speaking in a televised interview yesterday, Erdogan said an advanced democracy will enable Turkey to reach an advanced economy. Stating that democracy and the economy are parallel concepts, Erdogan said, "If we achieve an advanced democracy, we also achieve an advanced economy. This is because democracy and economy go hand in hand." On this Sunday's referendum on a major constitutional reform package, Erdogan said, "Global capital is waiting to see the outcome of the Sept. 12 vote before entering Turkey. The referendum will be a signal flare for international investors, if it produces a positive outcome." Turkey is currently among the most reliable countries for foreign direct investment, said Erdogan, but warned that investors could decide against Turkey if the reforms are rejected. "They're waiting to see the outcome," he said, adding that passage of the reforms could lead to an upsurge in investment. In other news, Industry and Trade Minister Nihat Ergun predicted that Turkey's growth this year would hit 6 percent or just above. Total industrial production rose 8.6 percent in July year-on-year, the Turkish Statistics Institute (Turkstat) announced yesterday.