Top Turkey business group calls for immediate steps on EU, inflation

Turkey’s leading business group called on the government to immediately improve relations with the European Union and implement economic measures to tackle high inflation.

The government should swiftly clinch an agreement with Brussels to improve its customs union agreement with the EU, Erol Bilecik, head of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSIAD), told state-run Anadolu Agency on Monday.

“It is the time for us to ensure recovery in ties with Europe,” he said. “We need to take steps to achieve this goal immediately. If Turkey does, things will change because Europe does not want to lose Turkey."

Bilecik said business people from both Turkey and Europe are looking for a recovery in ties and, if that happens, 2018 will “be a year of hope and new beginnings.”

He said inflation of 11.9 percent, the highest annual rate since 2003, was caused by the government giving up financial stability in the chase for short-term economic growth.

 “We must immediately realize the kind of reforms that will increase our competitiveness and strengthen the foundations of our economy,” Bilecik said. “We must do this in 2018. If we do not implement these reforms, we will continue to be seen as one of the world’s most fragile economies. That is the biggest risk for Turkey.”

TÜSIAD is made up of the largest industrial companies in Turkey.