Turkey laments EU leadership on debt crisis
(WASHINGTON) - Turkey's economics minister lamented the inability of Europe's leaders to get their arms around the continent's debt crisis Tuesday, as spillovers leave Ankara facing a precipitous drop in growth.
Zafer Caglayan said Turkey's economy would grow at slightly over four percent this year, less than half the rate seen last year, as he fingered French and German leaders for not tackling the crisis.
Turkey's slower growth "depends on the not-managed economic crisis in Europe," Caglayan said in Washington, speaking through an interpreter.
"Europe is obviously in deep trouble economically and two leaders in Europe, the chancellor of Germany, Ms. (Angela) Merkel and the president of France Mr. (Nicolas) Sarkozy, unfortunately did not show adequate resistance."
"They couldn't prevent this crisis."
Ankara has a difficult relationship with Berlin and Paris. Germany and France have opposed Turkey's decades-long effort to join the European Union, but remain vital trading partners.
Turkey, frequently one of Europe's fastest-growing economies, has in the last year been battered by headwinds from its western, eastern and southern flanks.
Upheaval in Syria has slowed trade to a trickle and international tensions with Iran have led to a 20 percent drop in Turkish exports to the Islamic Republic.
With US sanctions looming Caglayan said Turkey was, however, "working to supply oil from other countries."
Energy accounts for around a quarter of Turkey's imports and Iran is one of its principle suppliers.
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