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Erdoğan says Turkey had ‘negative growth’ in response to economy’s contraction

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claimed on Tuesday that Turkey witnessed “negative growth” in the last quarter of the year as the economy contracted at a sharper than expected 3.0 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Speaking at an election rally in İstanbul ahead of March 31 local elections, the president said his government is maintaining stability but that “unfortunately there was negative growth of 2.6 percent in the last quarter of the year.”

The economy grew 2.6 percent in 2018 as a whole, the weakest performance since 2009, data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) have indicated.

Erdoğan also reiterated his assertion that Turkey is under attack by its enemies, saying, “They cannot make Turkey kneel in politics, economy or defense.”

Meanwhile, on Wednesday credit rating agency Fitch announced its estimate of potential Turkish economic growth at 4.3 per cent.

Reuters reported on Monday that the Turkish economy had its worst performance in nearly a decade, saying it is a clear sign that last year’s currency crisis has tipped it into recession.

Turkey, a major emerging market once seen as a star performer by international investors, achieved growth of more than 7 percent in 2017. But last year, it was battered by a 30 percent slide in the value of the lira brought on by concerns over a US diplomatic spat and central bank independence.

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