Turkey will continue to battle inflation: Minister

Turkey's will continue to battle inflation without showing any sign of weakness as the country's economy has performed satisfyingly in other areas, the economy minister said on Tuesday.

Speaking to state news channel TRT Haber, Nihat Zeybekci said Turkey was one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

Export, investment, infrastructure, subsidies, all are well, but we will never ignore inflation," he said. We will never say 'a little inflation is OK' [...].

Turkey's economy expanded 5.3 percent in the first quarter of 2017 and 5.4 percent in the second.

In the third quarter, the Turkish economy became the fastest growing among G20 countries, boasting a double-digit (11.1 percent) growth performance.

Last year, Turkey's exports reached $157.1 billion in value -- the second-highest export volume in the republic's history -- marking a 10.2 percent annual rise.

Because, in our opinion, inflation is the primary reason behind the [higher] interest rates, Zeybekci said, adding:

"In this sense, critical studies have been conducted by the government's economy body in fighting against inflation."

According to the country's statistical authority TurkStat, Turkey's annual inflation rate was 11.92 percent in December 2017, down from 12.98 percent in November.

Upon a question about Turkey-EU relations, Zeybekci stressed that nearly 70 percent of foreign direct investment in Turkey came from the EU.

EU membership is a strategic target for Turkey, he said. Partnership with Turkey is also in the EU's benefit.

Turkey applied for EU membership in 1987 and accession talks began in 2005. However, negotiations stalled in 2007 due to the objections of the Greek Cypriot Administration in the divided island of Cyprus, and opposition from Germany and France.

To gain membership, Turkey has to successfully conclude negotiations on 35 policy chapters that involve reforms and the adoption of European standards.

As of May 2016, 16 chapters had been opened and one closed. However, in December 2016, member states said no new chapters would be opened.

Source: Anadolu Agency