Magazine

Norman Pearlstine Talks with Mehmet Sinsek


The Bloomberg Businessweek Chairman interviews Turkey's Finance Minister on why its economy is growing so fast

What can Greece, Ireland, and other troubled members of the European Union learn from Turkey?

We didn't put an end to years of crises until we convinced the markets we had a credible program to impose fiscal discipline on ourselves. We significantly reduced the ratio between debt and gross domestic product. We liquidated troubled banks. And we made it clear going forward that we would hold shareholders, bank managers, and, in some cases, their families personally responsible if they caused their banks to fail. Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland, as members of the euro zone, were never really penalized for poor fundamentals.

Has the EU's turmoil made Turkey less interested in joining it?

The EU accession process is, in my view, more relevant than the endgame. The European Commission has just released a report that essentially says Turkey has made progress on all fronts. We are converging with Europe with regard to per capita GDP, but the process also helps with political and social transformations.

Can Turkey cut its jobless rate?

Between 2007 and 2010, Turkey added 2.8 million jobs. Unemployment is still above 11 percent, but our recovery hasn't been jobless. Our banking sector's balance sheet is very strong. It can support growth, as can our public sector balance sheet. We are focusing investments on human capital, infrastructure, R&D, and education.

Pearlstine is Chief Content Editor at Bloomberg News.

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