ANKARA – Turkish Daily News
The Turkish head of the U.N. development agency ended speculation that he might reenter Turkish politics in an interview with CNNTurk aired Friday.
Controversy over United Nations Development Program, or UNDP, chief Kemal Derviş' possible return began with his appearance at a Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association, or TÜSİAD, top-level meeting in Istanbul Thursday, where he delivered a speech on the state of the Turkish economy. �The meeting was purely on the economy. It was not about politics,� he said, stressing he has no plans to return to Turkish politics when asked about hopes he might bring a fresh movement to the country's political scene.
Meanwhile, Derviş had a private talk with President Abdullah Gül on Friday that lasted for an hour-and-a-half. He also held a meeting with Nazım Ekren, the state minister responsible for the economy. Derviş said the talks were extensive exchanges of opinion about the state of the Turkish economy.
TÜSİAD's summit was particularly important, given that the association president, Arzuhan Doğan Yalçındağ, has called for a renewal of attempts to create a fresh Constitution. In the constitution convention document distributed to participants, the organization advocated setting up a commission through Parliament to draft a new Constitution. The Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges, or TOBB, and trade unions refused to participate in the gathering.
The coalition government brought Derviş forward as an independent economy minister in March 2001, following Turkey's biggest-ever economic crisis in February. Derviş secured $16 billion of IMF loans to launch an economic recovery program, introduced reforms to reduce corruption and switched to floating exchange rate system. His efforts to gain the Central Bank its independence were notorious among some politicians.
The Turkish economy's recovery is largely attributed to the work he did during his short mandate, which ended when he resigned in August 2002 and joined the ranks of the Republican People's Party, or CHP, to become its Istanbul deputy. He resigned in 2005 after he was elected chair of the UNDP.