Worst of Turkey’s economic downturn is over, Albayrak says

The worst of a slump in Turkey’s economy is over, Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said.

“The most serious speculative attack in history along with a slowdown in global growth trends” meant the economy shrank by three percent on an annual basis in the final quarter of last year, Albayrak said in a series of statements on Twitter on Monday.

But despite negative growth rates, Turkey is not experiencing the kind of contraction that it did during the global financial crisis of 2008 or an economic crisis in the country in 2001, Albayrak said.

The problem “has been successfully dealt with in a very short space of time,” Albayrak said.

Turkey’s economy is in the midst of an economic recession – defined as two-straight quarters of negative quarterly growth, official data showed on Monday. Activity shrank by 2.4 percent in the three months to December following a 1.6 percent contraction in the previous quarter.

On an annual basis, the construction sector shrank by 8.7 percent in the final quarter of 2018, consumer expenditure fell 9 percent and industry contracted 6.7 percent, the data showed.

Albayrak spoke less than three weeks before nationwide local elections. The governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) is seeking to retain control of Turkey’s largest cities of Istanbul and Ankara in the March 31 vote.