International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the Turkish business world, Eczacıbaşı Holding CEO Bülent Eczacıbaşı has said the decision was "right to the point" and will be for Turkey's benefit.
Eczacıbaşı paid a visit to the paper's headquarters last week and shared his views on current developments with Ekrem Dumanlı, the editor-in-chief of Today's Zaman's sister paper, the Zaman daily, and Zaman's business editor, Turhan Bozkurt.
Eczacıbaşı said Turkey has once again proven that it can stand on its own two feet by not signing an IMF deal. According to the holding CEO, a self-reliant Turkish economy will overcome the aftereffects of the crisis relatively quickly. "We cannot say that the markets have completely left problems behind, but things are going well in the Turkish economy."
Mentioning ongoing democratization efforts, he said that alongside civil society organizations and political parties, the business world should also take on responsibility in this regard. Arguing that the problems created by the 2009 crisis would prevail longer in Europe than in the US, he asserted that the Turkish economy has shown great strength in the face of trouble. Referring to the noticeable recovery in exports in the first two months of this year, Eczacıbaşı noted that the government should continue its reforms in the economy. However, Eczacıbaşı stressed that a sustainable recuperation in the domestic economy depends on developments in global markets.
While some parties blamed the government for having missed the opportunity to provide them fresh cash, Eczacıbaşı thinks Turkey did not need the IMF's support. "We could have signed a deal when the crisis first began to haunt the markets. But, in time, we all came to see that there was actually no need for such a measure," he said. According to Eczacıbaşı, the medium term economic plan announced last year along with fiscal discipline will help increase Turkey's credibility in the global arena.
Today's Zaman's sister paper Zaman daily editor-in-chief Ekrem Dumanlı (R) accompanied Bülent Eczacıbaşı (2nd R) during his visit to the paper's headquarters.
Asked whether he agreed with criticism that banks in Turkey ignored the problems of the non-financial sector while enjoying record high profits during the 2009 crisis, Eczacıbaşı said he expected banks to be ‘more flexible' this year. "But we should keep in mind that banks have the right to make sure deposits are in place."
As regards current political tension, particularly fueled by countrywide arrests amid an investigation into an alleged terrorist organization named Ergenekon, which is accused of preparing a coup plan to topple the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government, Eczacıbaşı said the public should get used to discussing such issues. "There is no need to be afraid. Turkey needs to face up to and bring the shadowy facts in its past into the light. Every single step in this regard strengthens the democratic system."
In relation to calls for a more transparent military structure in Turkey, Eczacıbaşı argued that military spending should be controlled by a civil supervisory mechanism, the Turkish Court of Accounts. "No public institution is exempt from supervision in developed democracies. We need to implement EU standards to minimize the deficit in public coffers."
Criticizing Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal for his stance against democratization efforts, Eczacıbaşı said he had expected Baykal to be more productive in this process. Baykal has been criticized for ignoring a document allegedly devised by the military to frame innocent people linked to the Gülen movement and the AK Party by planting arms and ammunition in their homes. Several laboratories, including those of the Council of Forensic Medicine (ATK) and the General Staff, acknowledged that the document bore the signature of a colonel, Dursun Çiçek. Despite proof, Baykal insisted that the fingerprints on the document and the age of the ink in the authenticated signature should be examined.