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Overview

  • Country Context

    TURKEY

    2020

    Population, million

    83.4

    GDP, current US$ billion

    720.1

    GDP per capita, current US$

    8,635.9

    Life Expectancy at Birth, years (2018)

    77.4

    Turkey’s economic and social development performance since the early 2000s has been impressive, leading to increased employment and incomes and making Turkey an upper-middle-income country. However, in the past few years, growing economic vulnerabilities and a more challenging external environment have threatened to undermine those achievements. 

    For most of the period since 2000, Turkey has maintained a long-term focus on implementing ambitious reforms in many areas, and government programs have targeted vulnerable groups and disadvantaged regions. Poverty incidence more than halved over 2002–15, and extreme poverty fell even faster. 

    During this time, Turkey rapidly urbanized, maintained strong macroeconomic and fiscal policy frameworks, opened to foreign trade and finance, harmonized many laws and regulations with European Union (EU) standards, and greatly expanded access to public services. It also recovered well from the global financial crisis of 2008/09.

    Turkey’s response to the influx of approximately 3.6 million Syrian refugees has been exemplary and provides a model to other countries hosting refugees. As a result of Turkey’s successful strategy, only 2.5 percent of refugees currently remain in camps. 

    However, there has been a slow down in reforms in several areas in recent years that, together with economic vulnerabilities, risks reversing some of the progress made to date. 

    The overall macroeconomic picture is more vulnerable and uncertain, given rising inflation and unemployment, contracting investment, elevated corporate and financial sector vulnerabilities, and patchy implementation of corrective policy actions and reforms. There are also significant external headwinds due to ongoing geopolitical tensions in the subregion. 

    COVID has deepened gender gaps and increased youth unemployment and the poverty rate. The risk of inequalities has also been increasing. The COVID-19 crisis is expected to have severely negative consequences for Turkey, further weakening economic and social gains.

     

    Last Updated: Apr 06, 2021

  • Strategy

    Number of Active Projects

    21

    Net IBRD Commitments

    $6.97 Million

    Trust Fund Portfolio

    $764 Million

    The partnership between Turkey and the World Bank Group (WBG) is outlined in the Country Partnership Framework (CPF), which was initially designed to cover the FY18–21 period but has recently been updated and extended to include FY22–23 through the Performance and Learning Review (PLR), that was discussed at the WBG’s Board of Directors on March 13, 2020.

    The PLR confirmed that the CPF’s pillars of growth, inclusion, and sustainability remain valid and that most of the objectives set out under these pillars also remain relevant, although some amendments were incorporated into the program to reflect the changes in country circumstances, client demand, and program evolution.  

    The WBG program ensures continued alignment with the Government’s strategies, including the 11th National Development Plan (NDP 2019-23). The Bank program continues to maintain a long-term focus that maximizes opportunities to support Turkey’s progression to higher-income status.

    With the onset of the COVID-19 global crisis, the WBG program in Turkey for FY20-21 has been adjusted to support the Government’s response. In line with the framework of the WBG Approach Paper, “Saving Lives, Scaling-up Impact and Getting Back on Track,” the Bank’s COVID-19 response spans the Relief, Restructuring, and Resilient Recovery continuum. The lending and analytical programs initially envisaged in the PLR have been complemented with new lending and Advisory Services and Analytics (ASA) aimed at supporting the crisis response.

    The WBG will continue to deliver a mix of instruments from across its institutions that draw on the strengths of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). 

    The implementation of the CPF has resulted in IBRD lending delivery totaling $5.57 billion as of Mar including investment operations in energy, access to finance, municipal development, disaster risk resilience, and the water sectors. 

    IFC’s portfolio implementation continued to perform satisfactorily, and its committed portfolio as of March 2021 amounted to $5.325 million, the second largest worldwide and the largest in the Europe and Central Asia region. Since May 2020, Turkey has received several investments under IFC’s COVID-19 crisis response facilities, and  IFC financing is higher than its indicative targets in the CPF.

    MIGA’s guarantee gross exposure in Turkey has grown substantially in the past decade. It went from $458 million in FY13 to $1.695 billion in FY16 and currently stands at $2.77 billion (FY20), making Turkey the largest exposure country in MIGA’s portfolio, with 12 percent of total gross exposure. MIGA’s intervention has mobilized foreign private financing in support of strategic areas, such as health-related public-private partnerships, the financial sector and export markets, and the infrastructure sector, via municipal financing. The product mix includes traditional political risk insurance as well as the non-honoring of credit guarantees. Going forward, MIGA will continue to remain selective to optimize development opportunities for private sector mobilization while ensuring close coordination with the Bank and IFC within the context of the CPF.

    Key Engagement

    Supporting the Government’s response to COVID-19 has taken center stage in the WBG program along the four lines of the Bank’s global approach: 

    To save lives: In the fourth quarter of FY20, the Bank added  $100 million to the CPF/PLR program for the Turkey Emergency COVID-19 Health Project (P173988) from the Fast-Track Facility as the key component of the relief phase of the COVID response. In parallel, it restructured $134 million in ongoing Health System Strengthening and Support (P152799) to provide additional support for urgent health needs.

    To protect the poor and vulnerable: Also in the fourth quarter of FY20, the Bank added a $160 million Safer Schooling and Distance Education Project (P173997), which supports equitable access to distance learning and protects human capital. The Digital Education Platform, which will be strengthened and scaled up under the project, will contribute to a restructured and more resilient digital education system for post-COVID-19 blended (face-to-face and online) teaching and learning.  

    To save livelihoods, preserve jobs, and ensure more sustainable business growth and job creation: As part of the resilient recovery phase, the Bank added two new operations to the program in FY21. The first is the  Emergency Firm Support Project ($500 million, P174112) and the second is the Rapid Support for Micro and Small Enterprises during COVID-19 Project ($300 million, P174144), implemented by the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) support agency of the Ministry of Industry and Technology and targeted at smaller MSMEs. 

    These new operations aim to preserve jobs. A further operation, the Long-Term Export Finance Guarantee Project ($300 million, P156252, approved in the fourth quarter of FY20), which was envisaged in the CPF/PLR and was under preparation before COVID, has been adapted to enhance the ability of Turkey Eximbank to raise funds on capital markets to support viable exporting firms affected by the COVID-induced trade slowdown. Finally, implementation of the ongoing Inclusive Access to Finance has been accelerated to leverage its focus on women-inclusive firms and firms operating in lagging regions, particularly in the context of the current pandemic.  

    To strengthen policies, institutions, and investments for resilient, inclusive, and sustainable growth: The portfolio of core and extended core ASAs envisaged in the PLR continues to focus on strengthening policies, institutions, and investments for a resilient and sustainable recovery. Special attention is being paid to timely preparation of the Pandemic Preparedness ASA. Moreover, when preparing the operations that had been envisaged in the PLR’s pre-COVID pipeline for FY21, a strong emphasis was put on strengthening sectoral policies and institutions to support a “building back better” approach. 

    There is ongoing analytic work on deepening human capital investment, which is critical to the county’s development.

    Another key engagement involves supporting the Government’s response to the 3.6 million Syrian refugees living in Turkey. The WBG is partnering with the EU’s Facility for Refugees in Turkey (FRiT) and is implementing programs in the areas of social support and adaptation, labor markets and the economy, municipal services and education, as well as in the crosscutting areas of data collection, measurement, and monitoring. 

    In addition to the FRiT funds, the portfolio is also supported by a broad set of Trust Funds, most notably, the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), EU Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) funds, Global Environmental Facility (GEF) funds, and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) Gender Funds.

    Last Updated: Apr 06, 2021

  • Recent Economic Developments

    Real GDP grew by 5.9 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2020, completing a remarkable rebound in the second half of the year and resulting in full-year growth of 1.8 percent, despite the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. The recovery was driven by surging domestic demand, buoyed by credit in the second and third quarter. The authorities loosened monetary policy and delivered a stimulus program totaling 13 percent of GDP, most of which was support via the banking sector in the form of partial credit guarantees and loan deferrals. Other fiscal support included social support payments to households, assistance to furloughed workers, tax deferrals, and other support for firms.

    Growth from these policies came at the cost of rising prices and macro-financial vulnerabilities. Inflation trended upward, reaching 15.6 percent in February 2021 - the highest level in 18 months. The Turkish lira depreciated by 20 percent against the U.S. dollar in 2020. From a surplus in 2019, the current account moved back into deficit ($36.7 billion, or 5.1 percent of GDP) as tourism income evaporated, merchandise exports fell, and gold imports increased. After the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) stepped in to finance as much as 80 percent of the current account deficit, foreign exchange reserves fell sharply, reaching unprecedented lows on a net basis. Deposit dollarization rose to 55 percent. Buoyant tax revenues resulted in a central government deficit of 3.4 percent of GDP in 2020, better than the planned deficit of 4.9 percent.

    Toward the end of 2020, a second wave of COVID-19 peaked, with cases reaching 30,000 a day in November. Following the reimposition of containment measures (including masking, weekend curfews, and restaurant closures), new cases declined to around 10,000 a day by February 2021, after which the government began easing restrictions again, based on a province-level risk assessment.

    By late 2020, the authorities had also moved to address economic vulnerabilities, more than doubling interest rates between August and December and repealing unnecessary regulations in order to stimulate credit growth and increase transparency. This policy shift helped spur portfolio inflows, stabilize the lira, and strengthen market confidence. Credit growth decelerated sharply to near zero (13-week average) by February 2021, and the banking sector reduced its net open foreign exchange position.

    Economic Outlook 

    The economy is expected to grow by 5.0 percent in 2021 and 4.5 percent in 2022 and 2023. Despite slow quarterly growth expected in 2021 - as monetary policy remains tight and external demand weak - GDP in the second quarter will be higher than in the same period last year when COVID-19 brought Turkey’s economy to a near standstill. These projections assume that cautious reopening continues and that there is no uncontrolled outbreak in Turkey or its major export markets that could undermine growth.

    A recent sharp depreciation of the lira in response to the replacement of the CBRT governor will impact inflation. Average inflation is projected to increase to 15.5 percent in 2021, and the current account deficit is expected to narrow to 3.7 percent of GDP. The 2021 general government deficit is projected to be 3.5 percent of GDP as the need for additional support to cushion the economic and social impact of the pandemic continues, before narrowing to 3.1 percent in 2022 and 2.6 percent in 2023 as temporary tax reductions and other government support is withdrawn. 

    Regulatory forbearance (especially on nonperforming loan definitions and capital adequacy ratio calculations) is expected to be phased out in mid-2021, after which there may be an increase in nonperforming and distressed loans. Strengthening bad loan resolution, insolvency, and out-of-court corporate debt restructuring frameworks with an effective corporate viability assessment will be critical to shield corporates and the banks from spillovers.

    Simulation analysis suggests that poverty may have increased by as much as 2.1 percentage points in 2020 - equivalent to 1.6 million newly poor. The current crisis has pushed the same number of people into poverty as the 2018/19 recession. Had the government not acted swiftly to stem the social effects of COVID-19, the increase in poverty would have been three times greater.

    Turkey is projected to enter 2021 with the highest poverty rate since 2012. Successful poverty reduction will require ensuring that the recovery benefits informal and unskilled workers and other vulnerable groups through a policy mix of social transfers, inclusive job creation, and labor activation strategies.

    Last Updated: Apr 06, 2021


LENDING

Turkey: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments




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Country Office Contacts

Ankara, Turkey
Ugur Mumcu Cad. No:88 2nd Floor,
+90 312 4598300
turkeywebfdbk@worldbank.org