Turkey terminates decades of IMF debt, officials say
With $412 million payment to global lender on tuesday, Turkey settles debt dating back to 1958
AFP, Tuesday 14 May 2013
Turkey has paid off all debt owed to the IMF which extended its first loans more than 50 years ago, and is now set to contribute to the Fund's operations, owing to economic growth that gave a priority to the private sector, Turkish officials said on Tuesday.
"After a long period, Turkey has paid off, cut to zero its debt with the IMF. I hope this development will be positive for our country," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told deputies from his Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The last instalment of $412 million was paid Tuesday to the International Monetary Fund by the Turkish central bank, bringing to an end a series of loans extended by the IMF since 1958.
Deputy Prime Pinister Ali Babacan was quoted by the Anatolia news agency as saying that Turkey had also committed to contributing a sum "on the order of five billion dollars" to IMF operations.
Babacan told Turkish television on Monday that the country's economic turnaround was the result of making private sector growth a priority.
The country's public debt has been cut from 46 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to 36 percent in four years, he added.
By way of comparison, European Union members are bound to maintain public debt below 60 percent of GDP, but very few have done so.
Turkey is now in a position to invest fiscal revenue in infrastructure, Erdogan said, including the construction of a third airport for Istanbul, a city of 15 million inhabitants.
The government would like the airport to become the largest in the world in terms of passenger numbers, as the national flag carrier Turkish Airlines ramps up operations with huge orders from both Airbus and Boeing.
The airline plans to double its current fleet of 215 Airbus and Boeing aircraft and expand the destinations it serves by 50 percent.
Although its economic expansion eased markedly last year, Turkey still posted growth of 2.2 percent, down from 8.8 percent in 2011.