Turkey PM Says Stand-off with IMF To Continue Unless Demands Met

erdogan-imfISTANBUL (Reuters)–Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that a year-long stand-off between Ankara and the International Monetary Fund would continue unless the fund agrees to Turkish demands.

Erdogan’s statements are the latest to cast doubt on the likelihood of a swift IMF deal, seen worth up to $45 billion, to help Ankara weather the global economic crisis. Turkey’s last $10 billion IMF loan expired last May.

‘One year later we have still not reached an agreement, and if the IMF does not agree to our demands, it will continue like this,’ said Erdogan, speaking at a ceremony in the southern city of Gaziantep.

A newspaper last week quoted Economy Minister Ali Babacan saying to bankers that there was no government consensus on a deal.

Erdogan has said previously he would not agree to IMF demands to curb spending, and the Central Bank said Turkey needed a Plan B, pouring cold water into market hopes for a quick deal that would bolster investor confidence.

Turkey’s economy contracted by 6.2 percent in the fourth quarter and the IMF expects the economy, which saw average growth of 7 percent between 2002 and 2007, to contract by 5.1 percent this year.

The fund’s representative in Turkey, Hossein Samiei, said on Friday that talks were ‘intensively’ ongoing.

Moody’s, a provider of credit ratings and related research, has said Turkey will be able to manage over the summer months without IMF financing, while foreign exchange revenues from tourism peak, but lack of IMF funds will curb its growth rates.

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