Posted on 20 January 2011
Turkish finance minister Mehmet Simsek has announced that the budget deficit dropped by 24.9% in 2010.
Turkey’s continued good news on the economic front continues to increase the likelihood that it will be bumped up to investment grade status this year.
The announcement, coming as it does amidst an EU sovereign debt crisis of political-fiction proportions, has also fuelled the view that the EU will need to bring Turkey into the fold sooner rather than later.
Writing in Newsweek magazine Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that "Europe has no real alternative to Turkey, especially in a global order where the balance of power is shifting, the EU needs Turkey to become an ever stronger, richer, more inclusive and more secure union."
Turkey has been in talks with the EU since 2005, but stiff opposition has come from France, Germany and others, while the EU as a whole ordered massive reform before Turkey could be admitted. Now many believe the EU needs Turkey more than the opposite is true, not least the citizens of Turkey. who are notably less enthusiastic about joining the EU in light of the sovereign debt debacle.
Turkey has responded to the slow pace of its admission into the EU by concentrating on deepening its commercial ties with countries outside Europe, including Russia, China, Brazil and many Arab states. While some member states take the view that EU membership would help to bridge differences with Islamic countries, France and Germany take a different view.
It remains to be seen how long they can continue to take this stance. With a population of 75 million, its geographically significant situation, growing economic power, political clout and the world’s oil reserve’s continually shrinking, it may be shorter than some people believe.