National Press Club

Prime Minister Says Turkey Can Be Guide to Financial Recovery

November 18, 2008 | By Mark Schoeff Jr.

With its proximity to geopolitical hotspots like Iraq and Iran, Turkey often is a factor in international security developments.

But Turkey also can provide leadership on the global financial crisis, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a simultaneously translated Newsmaker on Friday, Nov. 14.

Erdogan touted Turkey’s recovery from a severe economic setback in 2001-02. The country instituted structural reforms that have resulted in strong growth.

Its economy has more than tripled in size in less than five years; income per capita grew from $7,214 in 2006 to $9,305 in 2007. Exports have risen from $85.5 billion in 2006 to $133 billion this year.

“We play an important example for the countries looking for a way out of this crisis,” said Erdogan, who was in Washington for a special G20 summit on the global economic meltdown.

The fact that the G20 meeting was convened among heads of state, rather than ministers, signaled greater and more diverse global cooperation. He noted that the nations comprising the group account for two thirds of the world’s population and 90 percent of its economy.

“That is a good indicator of our future commitment to eradicating the financial crisis through concrete measures,” Erdogan said.

Among his recommendations for recovery are improving “international mechanisms of auditing” and increasing international capital flow.

He called for successful completion of the Doha trade negotiations. “No barriers should be introduced to trade,” he said.

Erdogan also endorsed more shared responsibility among banks for their mutual prosperity. “The strong ones should protect and support the fragile ones,” he said. “It’s important for certain funds to be allocated to those in need.”

Although President-elect Obama did not participate in the G20 summit, Erdogan said that he had been in contact with Obama. He predicted that the two would have a good working relationship.

“America and Turkey have been enjoying a political partnership and strategic alliance for the last 50 years, and this should be attached with a new momentum with a higher level of solidarity and
cooperation,” he said. “This is what I believe will unfold.”