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Kemal Dervis: 'Crisis in Turkey is primarily political'

In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor, Turkey’s former Minister of Economic Affairs Kemal Dervis asserts, “The perception of the independence of the Central Bank has been shaken.”
Kemal Dervis, administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), delivers a speech as Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda (R) listens at the closing session of the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, May 30, 2008.   REUTERS/Franck Robichon/Pool (JAPAN) - RTX6BA7

It was a privilege for Al-Monitor to discuss the latest economic developments in Turkey with Kemal Dervis, vice president and director of the Brookings Institution's Global Economy and Development program and former head of the United Nations Development Programme. As a former minister of economic affairs for Turkey, Dervis is respected as an authority on that country's economy. He, in fact, is known as the savior of the Turkish economy for the extensive, successful reform program that he introduced while minister of economic affairs — in response to the disastrous 2001 economic crisis — and to which subsequent Justice and Development Party (AKP) governments remained loyal. He shared his thoughts with Al-Monitor in an interview in Istanbul on Feb. 1.

Al-Monitor:  Last week, the Turkish Central Bank's interest rates hike increased concern over financial stability in the country. The responses varied, from divided reactions in the business community to the main opposition party [faulting] Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip Erdogan]. Pessimistic analysts claim, “The good times are over," while optimistic analyses recommend not panicking. Is it right to blame any single actor or factor in this situation?

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