Media information

Şimşek Pledges More Reforms in Turkey at GES 2015

Kiel– Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek used an appearance at the Global Economic Symposium in Kiel to pledge more reforms after next month’s parliamentary election. He said Turkey’s ruling AKP party was “hoping” to win that contest and to then present “a strong roadmap of democratization […] and structural reforms.”

“We’ve had a rough ride over the last two years,” Şimşek said about economic, geo-political and domestic problems Turkey has faced. “That’s usually a good time to convince people” of accepting reform, he said at the meeting of economists, policymakers and chief executives, organized by Kiel Institute for the World Economy. &ldquo We’re not in good headlines” at the moment, he said. “But the picture isn’t as bad as perceived.”

The crises in Syria and further afield, as well as the slowdown of the Chinese economy and the decline in commodity prices had made investors wary of emerging markets (EM) as an asset class. &ldquo I’m not as negative as the current pricing would suggest,” he said, but said emerging economies were dealing with “headwinds”. “The era of tailwinds is behind us […], but look out for those [EM countries] who can decouple through reform.”

Despite considerable pressure from external factors like US interest rates, the Chinese economy, and commodity prices, Şimşek said “the course of national politics” would be important in rousing investors – “regardless of whether you’re talking about Brazil or Turkey.” While the short-term outlook for Turkey might be “negative”, he said, the long-term outlook was good given Turkey’s young and growing population. “ We’ve had a lot of noise […] But the fundamentals are still there,” he said. Past reforms meant Turkey’s fiscal position was strong, for one.

After hosting the GES in 2010, Şimşek said he was delighted that Istanbul would be welcoming the conference again next year “We had a good symposium” last time, he said. “And I’m hoping we’re now going to have an even better one.” He said the GES 2016 would focus on central issues of Turkey’s G20 leadership – inclusiveness, with a focus on diversity; investment, with a focus on SMEs; and implementation, with a focus on reforms.

Dennis Snower, President of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, welcomed the chance for the GES to return to Turkey. Shared economic and geo-political problems had finally moved Turkey back into the center of the European Union’s attention. Snower said he had long been arguing that “Turkey’s economic promise is our promise, Turkey’s problems are our problems.” He added in closing” “The time has come to say we are one.”

Find the program of the GES 2015 here.