Speeches & Transcripts

Turkey Municipal Finance and Creditworthiness Academy

April 12, 2016

Tamara Sulukhia, Acting Country Director Turkey Municipal Finance and Creditworthiness Academy Ankara, Turkey

As Prepared for Delivery

Gunaydin! Hosgeldiniz! It is truly a pleasure to join you today on behalf of the Country Director Johannes Zutt and represent the World Bank Group (including the International Finance Corporation) in jointly sponsoring the Municipal Finance and Creditworthiness Academy with the Turkish Union of Municipalities.  

Before sharing some thoughts, I wanted to express deep appreciation to Hayrettin Bey, Secretary General for the Turkish Union of Municipalities, to Omer Bey, General Director of Local Administrations at the Ministry of Interior, and Taskin Bey, Deputy Undersecretary at Treasury, for allowing me to share the stage in opening this Academy. Together we share a mutual aspiration of promoting sound municipal finance and creditworthiness in Turkey. Their leadership and commitment to this agenda is a critical sign of importance of role of cities for Turkey’s future.

We are happy to see representatives of central authorities, IllerBank, local authorities, and development partners at the opening of Academy. I would like to thank the leadership and technical specialists from Turkey’s vibrant cities represented here today. By any measure, this is a remarkable turnout from 22 municipalities across Turkey, represented in many cases by deeply committed Secretary Generals and technical staff. Your commitment of time and effort to this Academy is deeply appreciated, knowing that you all have very busy schedules and many time constraints.

I also would like to take this opportunity to thank staff of Turkish Union of Municipalities (TBB) for their dedication and excellent work in organizing the event, and express appreciation to the sponsors of the event – Korean Green Growth Partnership and PPIAF.

The genesis for this Academy started some 8 months ago, as completion of the Turkey Urbanization Review was being finalized. The report, which some presenters today will refer to, highlighted significant accomplishments of Turkey in effectively managing rapid urbanization – remarkable enough to warrant our wanting to share that experience with other countries who can learn from Turkey.

But beyond the robust intergovernmental transfer system, the long-standing metropolitan municipality system, and accomplishments in housing and in municipal finance, we also noted opportunities for further growth and development of cities.

This we called Turkey’s “Second Urban Development Challenge or Agenda”. A prominent area of focus there will need to be enhancing municipal finance and creditworthiness for Turkish municipalities. In embracing this agenda, you are demonstrating that you recognize Turkey’s future is highly dependent on a system of well-functioning cities and that this can’t come about without concerted efforts and courage to take on new policy challenges at both the national and local level.

" This year the World Bank Group embarks on preparing a new three year Country Partnership Framework (CPF) with the Government and people of Turkey. The CPF will be designed in part to help Turkey progress toward becoming a high income country – something that only a few nations have been able to do. "

Tamara Sulukhia

Acting Country Director, Turkey


This year the World Bank Group embarks on preparing a new three year Country Partnership Framework (CPF) with the Government and people of Turkey. The CPF will be designed in part to help Turkey progress toward becoming a high income country – something that only a few nations have been able to do. I cannot think of a more important element in contributing to Turkey’s high growth aspirations than in developing and promoting sustainable cities. We therefore hope and expect a focus on cities will remain a key pillar of the new CPF.

This year we will also hope to launch the Sustainable Cities Investment Project with Iller Bank. This project is the capstone to our program of supporting cities and strengthening urban development in Turkey. With financial support from the EU, we hope to enhance city spatial and financial planning; with our financing we hope to provide the resources necessary for cities like Malatya, Gaziantep, Muglah, Denizli, Balakisir and others to deliver the crucially needed urban transport, water and sanitation, energy efficiency and other municipal services that your citizens are requesting.  While the first Sustainable Cities Project is focusing on handful of cities, the program remains widely open and we hope to work with many of you under the next series of Sustainable Cities Project with IllerBank. We also hope that there will be opportunities for other partners – like the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group and the French Development Agency – to join our efforts, as financing is a key constraint to some of your most critical development challenges.

Within this overall program, the focus on strengthening municipal finance and credit worthiness cannot be underestimated.  Today’s Academy will expose you to innovative practices around the world that are setting a higher bar for Turkish municipalities. The opportunity to tap into credit markets – both domestic and international – will provide your growing economy and cities with very much needed resources to provide the services needed for a modern city.  But, as you’ll see in the Academy, doing so will require strengthening of financial planning, developing clear and positive credit histories, and managing financial resources in sustainable ways. 

As I said at the outset, as Turkish cities, you have accomplished so much already. Today, we explore how to advance to the next frontier.

Thanks again for your commitment to this agenda and participation today. The World Bank stands ready to support you as you advance forward.


Turkey Municipal Finance and Creditworthiness Academy held in Ankara