‘IMF knew Turkey’s New Economic Program’: prominent economist

Korkut Boratav, a Turkish economist and soL columnist, explained that the IMF was aware of Turkey’s New Economic Program before announcement
Sunday, 06 October 2019 10:17

Korkut Boratav, a highly distinguished Turkish economist and soL columnist, commentated on the visit an International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation had paid to Turkey and the New Economic Program announced by Berat Albayrak, Turkey’s Minister of Treasury and Finance.

Stating that the delegation was aware of the contents of the program before it was announced, Boratav underlined that the announcement came right after the visit to the IMF and several statements made by the IMF. 

"The timing of the visit draws attention. Only one week after the departure of the IMF delegation, Berat Albayrak announced the 2020-2022 New Economic Program," wrote the economist.

Boratav noted that the arrival of the delegation can be considered ordinary and the meeting was about the “Consultations” in the IMF Agreement (Article IV). "Consultations are made by specialists who periodically visit the IMF-member countries. The country specialists in the IMF meet with bureaucrats; statistics are examined; problems and political practices are discussed," he added.

"Once the meetings are over, IMF specialists can reveal their first findings and suggestions with a short “Concluding Statement”. The findings, problems, and political suggestions are elaborated into a Report in IMF Headquarters in Washington DC. The last one of those reports regarding Turkey was dated to April 2018: Turkey: Article 4 Consultation-Staff Report; No 18/110.

Since it will contain political suggestions, the Report must be discussed and approved by the Executive Committee of the IMF. Thus the “operability” of the Report depends on the country. As these reports are not part of a stand-by (loan) agreement, the country may or may not take it into consideration.

The “Consultations” which were completed by the IMF specialists last week constitute the first step of a similar process. But there is more: It is understood that the delegation had reviewed the new program before it was announced. Hence, in the “Concluding Statement” of the IMF delegation released on 23 September, positive expectations are expressed on the new Economic Program of [Turkey’s ruling] AKP party,” Boratav concluded.

The AKP government gave strong reactions against the allegations that the government would seek help from the IMF, especially after the latest mayoral elections. "This is a type of perception operation. The IMF years are left behind for Turkey", the spokesman of the ruling AKP said after the allegations.

After the latest visit of the IMF officials, the AKP officials also blamed the main opposition CHP representatives for holding a secret meeting with the IMF delegation. 

The executive director of the IMF Turkey Raci Kaya argued that they were not informed about the talks of the opposition and said: "A meeting that is hidden and illegitimate is an indication of the presence of a different agenda against Turkey."