PM shows diversified exports as path out .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 - Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reiterated that he sees the global financial crisis as an opportunity for Turkey.

"During the period of our government, Turkey's economy has become a healthy and enduring economy that is able to overcome all crises and even to turn them into opportunities," said Erdoğan, speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2008 general assembly meeting of the Foreign Economic Relations Board, or DEİK, in Istanbul Friday.

The United States and Western Europe may be in recession, but "Turkey's neighbors and regional countries are expected to grow in a range between 5 and 9 percent this year," Erdoğan said, relying on estimates by the International Monetary Fund, or IMF.

Export strategy
"This means those countries will feel the least from the crisis," he said. "In the case that we specify our strategies in this direction, our exports to neighbors and regional countries may reduce the effects of the crisis for Turkey."

"Let us turn this global financial crisis into an opportunity for Turkey," he added. Responding to criticism on the government's approach to the global turmoil, Erdoğan said "Causing a depression among the people is not something that we desire."

"Turkey's economy is not fragile anymore. It is strong and open to the world. It is true that the global crisis damaged our exports, there was a 22 percent decline in exports November. But we still will reach our targets this year. We set the export target as $125 billion for this year and already reached $129 billion as of November," he said.