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Turkish finance minister faces tough task swooning American investors

2019/04/16 | 11:10

(Hatha al-Youm | Iraq News)-

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak is defending sweeping economic reforms which have been heavily criticized by Western investors during a trip to the United States that has included a meeting with Senior Advisor to the US President Jared Kushner.“This is an important week for cooperation between our two nations,” Albayrak told US and Turkish business leaders in Washington, Reuters reported on Tuesday. “Since last Thursday ... my team and I held series of meetings. We had productive ones with many international finance institutions,” he said.Albayrak and Kushner, each son-in-law to their respective president met on Monday, but there were no immediate readouts of the talks.“We need to strengthen our resilience partnership despite our policy differences,” he said. Albayrak has sought to swoon investors in various forums, including speaking at a panel at JPMorgan on Thursday. He also has gone World Bank and International Monetary Fund seasonal meetings.“Moreover, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and I discussed lots of different topics. ... This morning, I had fruitful talks in the White House with my counterparts,” Albayrak added.Albayrak also met at the White House with US President Donald Trump. Turkey's Daily Sabah reported that they discussed increasing bilateral trade from $25 billion to $75 billion.Turkey's planned purchase of the Russian S-400 air defense system reportedly was also discussed. The Trump administration and the US military prefers for Ankara to rely on NATO-member weapon systems such as the US-made Patriot surface-to-air missile system.In the past year, Turkey has approved a constitutional referendum that shifts it to a presidential system, has held snap presidential and parliamentary elections, as well as municipal elections on March 31.With Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) ruling the country until at least 2024, Albayrak has said they will enter "an economic rebalancing period." “There’s never been a better time to invest in Turkey,” he said, adding the United States and Turkey should do more to boost bilateral trade. He acknowledged the two NATO allies had disagreements.The pro-government Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah reported on Friday that Reuters, Bloomberg, and the Financial Times — all respected media which focus on business and economy — were coordinating a smear campaign against Albayrak. https://www.dailysabah.com/economy/2019/04/13/foreign-media-outlets-launch-smear-campaign-against-turkeys-economy"With the goal to create a negative perception of the Turkish economy, the aforementioned news outlets had initially implied that the country would not be able to overcome the currency rate-related crisis and foreign investors would refrain from investing in the country," it said.Reuters reported on Friday that Albayrak "offered little convincing detail of his economic turnaround plan and failed to enthuse investors."The outlet spoke with unnamed investors at the JPMorgan event. 



“I don’t think he persuaded anybody, it did not go well,” said one.“If it weren’t the case that the Fed and ECB currently present no risk to emerging markets, I would be a big seller of Turkey,” the investor added.Another investor told The Financial Times that Albayrak was unable to reassure investors amid promises of fiscal discipline. His presentation lacked detail and was "disastrous." The lira lost 30 percent of its value in 2018 against the US dollar.











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