Thursday, September 18, 2008

A few words of wisdom from Turkish policymakers to ensure a good night's sleep

I was just going over summary of the day's news to make sure I did not miss anything when I stumbled upon a comment from Tevfik Bilgin, head of the BRSA. According to Mr. Bilgin, Lehman Brothers does not have any transactions with with Turkish banks that could cause systemic risk. Having read this, I kind of assumed that Mr. Bilgin was also ready to cover the extra funding costs of the banking sector, so I felt really relieved.

Just as I was about to close shop for the day, I saw Nazim Ekren's (minister in charge of coordinating economic policy) answer to a question on what the government was doing to minimize the effects of the global financial turmoil on the Turkish economy. Here is my translation of his answer: "We had shared with you earlier the Southeastern Anatolia, Eastern Anatolia and Konya plains projects with respect to the global food and energy crisis. Similarly, with respect to the international financial crisis, we have started an important initiative with our project to turn Istanbul into global financial hub, another international project which will allow liquidity and funds that are currently unevenly balanced into Turkey and Istanbul..."

Now that I know that the banking sector is safe & sound and that Istanbul will emerge from the financial crisis as the new financial hub, I am sure to have a good night's sleep, even though I am out of milk...

P.S. Joking aside, a buddy has emailed me asking whether I thought Turkey was positioned to weather the global economic storms. I plan to email him Minister Ekren's words with the famous tagline from the cult classic The Fly: "Be afraid, be very afraid"...

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