Turkey reports record $21.8 bln of FDI in 07

ANKARA (AFP) – Turkey attracted a record 21.87 billion dollars (-14.85 billion) in foreign direct investment (FDI) last year, well above the 2006 figure, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday. «This is an all-time record for Turkey,» Erdogan said in a speech to his Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) parliamentary group. «The Turkish economy has shifted gears… Turkey has now become an important economic player,» he said. The figure corresponds to a 9.5 percent rise from the 20 billion dollars of FDI in 2006. The Treasury predicted last month that it expected 18.5 billion dollars in FDI in 2008, 19.1 billion dollars in 2009 and 21 billion dollars in 2010. Turkey attracted 1.7 billion dollars in 2003, 2.9 billion dollars in 2004 and 10 billion dollars in 2005, compared to an average of 1.1 billion dollars of FDI in the decade before the AKP came to power in 2002. Since then, Turkey has staged an impressive economic recovery from its worst recession in years under a 10-billion-dollar International Monetary Fund (IMF) standby deal. The party’s economic success was cited by many as one of the factors behind its strong re-election in snap polls last July. Erdogan said Turkey’s net public debt was 249 billion Turkish lira (208.2 billion dollars, or -141.3 billion), corresponding to an estimated 39 percent of the country’s gross national product, down from 78.3 percent in 2002. GNP, which was about 181 billion dollars in 2002, has now shot up to nearly 500 billion dollars, he said. Turkey’s debt to the IMF, meanwhile, fell from 23.5 billion dollars in 2002 to 6.9 billion dollars. «We will make no concessions from financial discipline, transparency, predictability and monetary policy,» the prime minister said. Turkey’s standby deal with the IMF expires in May, but the government has yet to announce what it intends to do next.