Turkey to form industrialisation committee in key structural reform - minister

Turkey’s government said it will establish an executive industrialisation committee to expand the country’s production capacity, enacting a key structural reform under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

The committee will also be tasked with making Turkey an essential player in global competition, Industry Minister Mustafa Varank said on Wednesday, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

"We have taken a historic step to strengthen the Turkish industry and technology ecosystem, and the most critical structural reform of the recent period has been made,” Varank said at an event in the capital Ankara, Anadolu reported.

Erdoğan has established several similar committees under his leadership since Turkey switched to a presidential system of government at elections in 2018. He has also made himself chairman of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, appointed his son-in-law Berat Albayrak as Treasury and Finance Minister and given himself the power to hire and fire senior central bank officials.

The decisions of the new committee will be taken together with relevant ministries, Varank said.

"We will accelerate the coordination between institutions in areas such as finance, customs, environment, infrastructure, logistics and energy and help investors see the future very clearly," Varank said.

Turkey has said that the new presidential system will streamline decision-making and enhance the country’s economic performance.

Investors are calling on the government to enact structural reforms to its economy but say steps should include restoring the independence of economic and financial institutions such as the central bank. The lira has fallen to record lows this year partly on concerns about unorthodox monetary and economic policies.

The committee will also ease control of public procurement in line with indigenous production priorities, Varank said, according to Anadolu.

Turkey is seeking to boost industrial output and exports to reduce the country’s reliance on imported goods. Demand for imports has increased this year after the government enacted economic stimulus measures including flooding the market with cheap loans from state-run banks. The current account deficit has widened markedly, raising concerns for economic stability.

Industrial output in Turkey rose by 10.4 percent in August, climbing the most on an annual basis in more than two and a half years, official data showed this week. On a month-on-month basis, growth in output eased to 3.4 percent from 8.5 percent in July.

Varank is a former adviser to Erdoğan. He was leading social media policy coordination at the time of the Gezi Park demonstrations of 2013, which turned into a nationwide protest movement against the government.