On Thursday, April 19, THO, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) hosted Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek for a roundtable discussion and off-the-record Q&A session with business leaders, academics, and other high-level representatives.
The Deputy Prime Minister covered a wide range of economic issues on the state of Turkey's economy, which included fiscal policy and monetary policy, as well as infrastructure and education reform efforts. Simsek also focused on the overall state of U.S.-Turkey relations.
The Deputy Prime Minister stressed the importance of both U.S.-Turkey and E.U.-Turkey economic cooperation despite the perceived status of the relations as poor. He commented on the difference between the outside perceptions and the reality of Turkey’s current state. The Deputy Prime Minister laid out several methods through which Turkey is working to improve its current economic situation. This included bringing back inflation rates to the single digits, narrowing the deficit through improved regulations, and accelerating structural reforms. He explained how Turkey is working with investors in order to reduce the deficit, stating, “We want to make doing business in Turkey much simpler.” In addition, the Deputy Prime Minister expressed Turkey’s emphasis on improving education in Turkey, stating, “Education is our number one priority.”
Regarding Turkey’s recently announced snap elections, the Deputy Prime Minister noted that Turkey will experience more economic stability after the elections have concluded. When speaking on U.S. security concerns over Syria’s northern conflict, he asked for American sympathy on Turkish security threats. He followed up by stating, “We cannot allow further deterioration of U.S.-Turkey relations.” In his closing remarks, the Deputy Prime Minister expressed a sense of hopefulness for the improvement of U.S.-Turkey relations and the importance of continued economic cooperation between both countries.