Media-quotes on the present situation in Turkey
<<Horst Köhler, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, said:
"The IMF supports the decision of the Turkish authorities to float the lira.
we welcome the Turkish government's goals of continuing to reduce inflation,
and ensuring sustainable growth. Continued fiscal adjustment and a strict
monetary policy should help stabilize the exchange rate and ensure-possibly
after an initial increase-that the inflation rate continues to decline,
and that the other substantial gains under the IMF-supported economic
IMF NewsBrief 21.2.2001
complain that reforms put in place to tighten credit, slow production to
bring down inflation, and raise taxes have squeezed many of them out of
business. At the same time, they say, corrupt banks and other big businesses
have enjoyed huge government subsidies under the same programs. Before
this week's crisis, one IMF official overseeing the Turkey loans the fund's
second-largest program after Argentina described the country's painful
belt-tightening as a "necessary correction.">>
"You become poorer and poorer after every crisis," said Ergun Duran, 54, who runs a small Istanbul newspaper stand. "But at some point, you cannot be poorer than you already are you are on the bottom. This is how most of the people are living now. You work and work for 20 or 30 years, you still can't make ends meet, you still wear the same clothes every year.">>
Washington Post 24.2.2001
<<Zur Bekämpfung der schweren Finanzkrise hat die türkische Regierung ein umfangreiches Massnahmenpaket vorgestellt. Der staatliche Telefonkonzern Turk Telekom, die nationale Fluggesellschaft Turkish Airlines und eine Reihe von Zucker-, Alkohol- und Tabak-Monopolen sollen privatisiert werden, wie das Finanzministerium mitteilt. Ausserdem sollen die defizitären staatlichen Banken unter einem gemeinsamen Vorstand zusammengefasst werden. Zwei dieser Banken, darunter auch die grösste, die Ziraat Bank, sollen fusionieren.>>
<<Die türkische Regierung hat am Mittwochabend ein "Notprogramm" zur Bekämpfung der Wirtschaftskrise vorgelegt. Präsentiert wurden die ersten Schritte zur Stabilisierung der Finanzmärkte von dem neuen Superminister für Wirtschaft und Finanzen, Kemal Dervis. Wichtigster Punkt: die Sanierung der drei größten staatlichen Banken, die die eigentliche Ursache für die Krise sind.
Dervis kündigte ein Gremium von unabhängigen Fachleuten an, das diese Banken zukünftig überwachen soll. Sie brauchen kurzfristig 13 Milliarden US-Dollar, um ihre dringendsten Schulden begleichen zu können. Mittelfristiges Ziel ist, alle drei zu fusionieren.
Außerdem sieht der Notplan vor, die größten staatlichen Konzerne Telekom, Turkish Airlines und den Tabak-, Zucker- und Alkoholmonopolisten Tekel schnell zu privatisieren. Vor Ausbruch der Krise hatte die Regierung sich gegenüber dem Internationalen Währungsfonds (IWF) immer geweigert, die Mehrheit an Telekom und Turkish Airlines abzugeben. Insbesondere durch den Verkauf der Telekom erhofft man sich nun einen großen Teil des Geldes, das für die Sanierung der Staatsbanken gebraucht wird.>>
Unions have threatened to oppose any programme that does not look after workers needs and have called for mass demonstrations on April 14 to protest against IMF-inspired policies.
Major workers' unions have united under an umbrella group named Labour Platform to protest against the new economic programme.
The unions fiercely oppose any economic measures taken in cooperation with the IMF, saying it would ignore the needs of people suffering from the crisis.>>
of people have taken part in demonstrations across Turkey against the new
economic austerity plan.
<<The downgrades capped a week of bad news during which the value of the currency plunged 14 percent to 1,182,079 Turkish lira to the dollar. The lira is now 44 percent below its value on Feb. 22, the day the government abandoned an economic reform program crafted by the International Monetary Fund, including a controlled exchange-rate policy, and allowed the lira to float.
On Tuesday, the government announced that wholesale prices rose 10 percent in March. On Wednesday, it ordered a 21 percent hike in gasoline prices, the fifth increase in 43 days. Since the start of the crisis, civil servants’ average salaries have plummeted about 35 percent because of inflation and currency depreciation, according to a report by the Anatolian News Agency. In constant dollar terms, a teacher with a monthly salary of $381 six weeks ago now brings home $248. The economy, once projected to grow about 4 percent this year, is expected to shrink about 2 percent.
The price of imported medicines has skyrocketed, and some suppliers are refusing to ship drugs to Turkey because of the uncertain exchange rates, leading to severe shortages. Hospitals reportedly are postponing chemotherapy treatments because of limited supplies of blood products.
Car sales are down 90 percent. Unemployment was 18.3 percent before the crisis, but tens of thousands more are now out of work. About 75 percent of the 300,000 workers in the shoe industry have lost their jobs, as have 140,000 textile workers.>>
Washington Post 6.4.2001
<<Businessman Miras met officials of the armed forces' General Staff at their headquarters in central Ankara late Monday.
The army plays an influential role behind the scenes in Turkish politics and remains Turkey's most trusted institution. It has intervened four times directly or indirectly since 1960 to topple governments at times of national crisis.
There has been no sign the military will intervene in the present crisis, unleashed by Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit when he launched an angry public attack on his president in February. But political and business circles will inevitably vie for the ear of the generals.
No details were available of the talks at the General Staff headquarters, but Miras gave full vent to his feelings at a meeting of his organization Tuesday morning.
``The government was late in efforts to prevent the crisis. It sat and watched the blaze engulf everything. Nothing has been done in the past 50 days,'' he said.
``The government has made a mistake. As a result of that mistake, the government's resignation can be demanded. But the platform for resolving this must be parliament. If no solution comes from parliament other civil groups can provide solutions.''
Miras, clearly reflecting concern shared by the military that street demonstrations could be manipulated by Islamist or leftist radicals, added: ``There is no solution on the streets.''>>
<<"Down with the government," "No to poverty and corruption," and "Open your eyes Turkey," the protesters chanted as soldiers armed with machine guns watched from a few meters (yards) away and police helicopters overflew the scene.
The chairman of the Turkish Confederation of Tradesmen and Artisans (TESK) Dervis Gunday said in a written statement the violence was prompted by unidentified provocateurs and postponed all future demonstrations to prevent a repeat of Wednesday's incidents. [But he says nothing about the police provocations. It seems more likely that he didn´t expect so resolute and so much people demonstrating against the government. wk]
A protest by a large crowd of tradesmen in the central city of Konya also turned ugly when the demonstrators stoned political party buildings and banks. Police detained some 50 people when they refused to disperse.
Tens of thousands of tradesmen also demonstrated in the cities of Izmir, Kirsehir, Sivas, Adana, Kutahya, Mersin and Hatay, but the protests ended peacefully.
The clashes followed a joint call Tuesday by Turkey's trade chambers for the government to step down for ist responsibility over the country's financial woes.>>
<<Turkey's Union of Chambers and Bourses called Tuesday for Ecevit to resign. But there are doubts that a new government could be formed quickly to tackle a financial crisis that has driven up prices and pushed many into unemployment.
Ecevit says he believes demonstrations are being infiltrated by radicals. [He fears the people!!! wk] Public anger, however, is growing and trade unions have called a nationwide protest for Saturday.
The country's powerful military leaders, keen to avert any impression that they are immune to crisis, announced they had postponed 32 spending projects worth $19.5 billion.
While the main explosion of anger erupted in Ankara on Wednesday, smaller protests took place in the cities of Izmir, Mersin and Istanbul, the commercial capital.
State-run Anatolian news agency said Ankara Governor Yahya Gur had banned all demonstrations for a month. The governor's office was not immediately available for comment.
The period of the ban includes May 1, a traditional date for labor groups to gather in Turkey and often a spark for violence.>>
wk, 13.4.2001 Hervorhebungen von mir / emphasizes by me