Turkey advised to maintain focus on growth, economic outlook good

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s economy is in a good position and the government is determined to lower a heavy debt burden, but the country must continue to focus on growth, the IMF’s European director said yesterday. «Turkey is in a very good position,» Michael Deppler told reporters. He and a team of IMF inspectors are in Turkey amid a latest review of the country’s $19 billion loan pact. That accord is due to expire next year, and investors are anxious to see whether Turkey signs another pact. Analysts have said that a deal providing fresh lending would help cushion the country’s future debt repayments. Turkish officials have indicated they would like to maintain some kind of pact with the IMF, which could include a non-lending monitoring agreement. Turkey signed its current accord with the IMF after a 2001 financial crisis sparked the country’s worst recession since World War II. The economy shrank by around 10 percent in 2001. Deppler expressed concern about high interest rates. He also stressed that Turkey must focus on economic growth. «Turkey should focus on maximizing growth instead of on employment,» Deppler said, adding economic growth would help to create more jobs.