IMF ’the key in confidence’ .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} ISTANBUL - The chief of the OECD, urged Turkey to make a deal with the IMF to secure confidence in the economy amid the global economic crisis.

Speaking at the "The Global Economy and Turkey" conference yesterday, Angel Gurria said Turkey’s structural reform efforts in recent years should be appreciated, but now an IMF deal is "a must" to re-establish confidence.

"If Turkey faced this devastating crisis without [the reforms it undertook], there could be massive trouble for the economy. Turkey was well prepared for the unexpected," Gurria said.

"As the markets are not working properly and even fundamental deals cannot be financed, even economies that took the right steps are bearing the burden. The IMF steps in at this point," Gurria said.

A bridge to normalization
Gurria desrcibed the IMF as "a financial institution that is recognized by Turkey and that understands Turkey."

"While there is such an opportunity, it would be better to use it for the sake of reestablishing confidence, providing the required liquidity and stability, he said.

"Now the world eyes the IMF as it helps countries amid the global crisis. It is a bridge to normalization. A deal between Turkey and the IMF would increase confidence. Of course, there will be some conditions. But it is your institution, so use it," said Gurria.

Commenting on the global credit turmoil and its damaging effects, Gurria said the situation of the banking system and loans are fine in Turkey compared to other countries, but said it is "not isolated from the rest of the world."

Speaking at the same conference, the chairperson of the Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association, or TÜSİAD, said an IMF deal would allow Turkey to "take a breath."

"A deal with the IMF would terminate uncertainty over the markets," Arzuhan Doğan Yalçındağ said. "Through drawing the framework for economic policies, it also enables business circles to foresee the future better, as well as increasing Turkey’s credibility in international markets."
Highlighting the fact Turkey has a nearly $50 billion foreign debt that matures in a year, Yalçındağ said an IMF deal would "provide a credit opportunity and allow Turkey to take a breath in rolling over this debt."

Rıfat Hisarcıklıoğlu, chair of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, or TOBB, said credit rating agencies were among those responsible for the global economic crisis.

"They [credit rating agencies] proved to be useless while the global financial fire shook the markets. Moreover, they misled the world through failed forecasts and ratings," said Hisarcıklıoğlu.

An IMF inspection team will visit Turkey early January to negotiate a new loan program with the government, the Treasury in Ankara said yesterday. Turkey has made "considerable progress" in technical discussions on a new economic program with the IMF, reported Bloomberg citing a spokesman for the Fund.