Turkey needs urgent new economic steps to combat virus – columnist

Turkey’s government should take urgent new economic measures to combat the effects of the coronavirus, said columnist Ibrahim Kahveci.

The country is experiencing great economic troubles and unemployment, Kahveci wrote in the Karar newspaper. Meanwhile, factories are probably relying on stocks to meet demand and exporters are manufacturing their last orders for some time, he said.

While many developed countries have promised to provide support for workers and businesses to ensure jobs remain safe, measures announced by the Turkish government this week provide no such guarantees, Kahveci said. Many people are sitting at home wondering if they will keep their jobs or get paid, he said.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan outlined a 100-billion-lira ($15.4 billion) package of measures to support Turkey’s economy on Wednesday after the pandemic sent the lira spiralling to its lowest level since September 2018. The steps included delays to sales tax payments for firms, financial aid via the Credit Guarantee Fund and abolishing taxes on accommodation in hotels. Minimum deposits for home loans were also cut.

Kahveci is among columnists and businessmen calling on the government to provide help via the Unemployment Fund for workers likely to be made redundant in the services and tourism industries, two major engines of economic growth.

“We need a very, very serious package of proposals,” Kahveci said. “And, of course, this needs, first of all, a state that is working.

“There is a great disparity between the package announced and the economic troubles we find ourselves in,” he said. “New steps are needed urgently.

“You can’t solve these problems with Turkish cologne or loans from three to five banks.”