ECONOMY

Turkey eyes $10 bln loan

ANKARA (Reuters) – The Turkish government will continue talks with the International Monetary Fund toward agreeing to a new standby loan deal, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday. An IMF team left Ankara yesterday after talks on a new economic program for 2005-2007, and Turkish officials told Reuters the country was edging toward a new IMF standby loan facility for at least $10 billion when its current accord expires next February. «Our talks are continuing on the new economic program and are developing in line with our expectations. We decided to hold talks with the IMF for 2005 and beyond for a new standby deal,» Erdogan told reporters after a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party. Turkish officials earlier pointed to the need for an adequate cash flow to fund the country’s hefty debt repayments to the IMF, totaling $26.3 billion between now and 2008. Erdogan said how much Turkey would receive from the IMF under this new deal was not certain yet, and the negotiations on the agreement’s details would continue with the fund. Official talks on the details of the standby deal will start in September, an economic official said yesterday after Erdogan’s statement. Earlier in the day, a finance official told Reuters that Turkey and the IMF team had also agreed on key public sector primary surplus targets of 6.5 percent in the new program. The government also recently announced an inflation target of 8 percent for 2005, with targets projected at 5 percent in 2006 and 4 percent in 2007.