Turkish businessmen’s group increases pressure on gov’t for IMF deal.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;}Turkey's leading business association, TUSIAD, increased its pressure on the government to secure a deal with the International Montetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday, saying the issues that have stalled the process are not unacceptable and the reason for the delay was not understandable.

The two important conditions cited by the Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan as delaying the process during a previous meeting were not unacceptable, Arzuhan Dogan Yalcindag, the head of the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) told reporters after a visit to the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP).

Turkey and the IMF suspended face-to-face talks in February citing the "unacceptable demands of the Fund." According to Turkey, the IMF's demands of handing autonomy to the Revenue Administration, pressing taxpayers to declare the source of their income, and the cancellation of a law transferring funds to municipalities, are unacceptable.

"As one of them (conditions) is related to the autonomy of tax supervision, this is not an issue could fail to be realized. This is not an unacceptable demand. The other one speaks about matching," Yalcindag said, adding that the IMF was not asking for anything that could harm the country’s employment.

The Fund has not asked to implement tighter fiscal policies, increase the primary surplus or tax rates, Yalcindag said. What they asked for however were related structural reforms, issues that had earlier been discussed, she added.

"In other words, it is difficult to understand, why this (signing agreement) turned into such a problem and why an agreement still couldn't be signed at a time when we face many problems in the economy and our public debt has increased so much."

Yalcindag said Tuesday there were strong signals that the new deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would be signed after the elections on March 29 and urged the government to take major steps to rein in unemployment.

The business community sees the IMF and its financial resources as essential for Turkey as the country's public debt is expected to be around $50 billion in 2009.

The Turkish economy, which increasingly feels the impact of the global financial crisis, recorded only 0.5 percent growth in the third quarter of 2008, the lowest since Turkey emerged from a financial crisis in 2001. The growth rate is expected to be flat in 2008, while an economic contraction is forecast for 2009.