Macroeconomic Policies for EU Accession

Macroeconomic Policies for EU Accession

Edited by Erdem Başçı, Sübidey Togan and Jürgen von Hagen

What macroeconomic requirements must Turkey meet in its quest to accede to the European Union? This book, with its distinguished contributors – well-known economists and policymakers – examines and analyses these macroeconomic challenges confronting Turkey. Although the focus is on the specific situation of Turkey, the lessons are informative for other candidate countries and the findings directly relevant to the process of European integration.

Chapter 9: Current Account Sustainability: The Case of Turkey

Sübidey Togan and Hasan Ersel

Subjects: economics and finance, financial economics and regulation


Sübidey Togan and Hasan Ersel* During the last three decades Turkey has experienced three balance of payments crises. The first crisis occurred in late 1970s, the second in 1994 and the third in 2001. These crises highlighted the danger of having too large current account deficits when coupled with other weaknesses in the economy. The crises occurred when Turkey was facing large fiscal deficits and high inflation rates, and when the current account deficits during the periods prior to the crises were largely financed by short-term foreign borrowing. During the 1990s the unhealthy structure of the financial sector contributed to the worsening economic situation.1 Currency and maturity mismatches on the balance sheets of the banks had left the public authorities little leeway for using either interest rate or exchange rate adjustments to restore the external balance without undermining the stability of the banking sector. Furthermore Turkey lacked competent supervisory authorities and a regulatory framework in the banking sector. Finally, prior to the 2001 crisis Turkey had accumulated huge debts. Thus Turkey before the 2001 crisis had neither resolved its fiscal problems, nor attained price stability, and it did not have a sound banking sector. There were also major problems with governance in general. The past few years have witnessed three major attempts at addressing underlying weaknesses. The first was during 2000 under the three-year stand-by agreement with the IMF initiated in December 1999, following a significant drop in output as a result of mostly...

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