Ankara, November 5, 2008 - Mr. Shigeo Katsu, Vice-President for Europe and Central Asia Region of the World Bank visited Turkey for discussions with the government, the private sector, and development partners on current developments in Turkey, the government's program for 2009, and ongoing World Bank Group support to Turkey.
Mr. Katsu and Mr. Ulrich Zachau, Country Director of the World Bank for Turkey, first visited Gaziantep, accompanying Minister of State, Mehmet Simsek. They met with the Governor and Mayor of Gaziantep, the Chambers of Commerce and Industry, local businessmen, academia and students of Gaziantep University. Together with Minister Simsek,also had the chance to visit projects of two private companies financed by the World Bank and by the International Finance Corporation.
After meetings with representatives of the business and financial community in Istanbul, Mr. Katsu is concluding his visit to Turkey with further meetings with members of the Government responsible for the economy and with development partners in Ankara.
While exchanging views with government representatives on the ongoing global economic and financial turmoil and its impact on Turkey, Mr. Katsu noted the importance of preparedness for downside risks and welcomed the steps the Government has taken so far. He highlighted the importance of the continuation of strong macroeconomic management as well as key reforms, including in particular the government's adoption of Turkey's updated energy strategy, continued enhancements to the investment climate, and second-stage labor market reforms, to help lay the basis for renewed growth and more and better jobs in the future.
Mr. Katsu stressed that Turkey's banking system is sound and among the strongest in the region today, and that several years of fiscal discipline have reduced risk in the public debt portfolio to low levels, leaving Turkey well-placed to weather current global conditions. Mr Katsu also exchanged views with government officials on further plans to react, should global economic conditions worsen further, in order to minimize impacts on Turkish economic activity and employment.