Turkish government criticizes IMF for meeting with two opposition parties

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A security guard looks on outside the International Monetary Fund (IMF) headquarters in Washington, DC, during the 2017 IMF Annual Meetings on October 10, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS

Two Turkish officials on Monday harshly criticized the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for reportedly holding meetings with Faik Öztrak from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Durmuş Yılmaz from the İyi (Good) Party, the pro-government Sabah daily reported.

Raci Kaya, who represents Turkey in the IMF’s executive directorate, described the meeting as illegitimate and indicative of a secret agenda against the country as he was not made aware of it.

“What is interesting here is that every day these opposition people claim that we are about to request support from the IMF while they are the ones who hold undisclosed talks with them. This is a double standard on their part,” said Ömer Çelik, the spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

In response, Yılmaz, who was governor of the country’s central bank between 2006 and 2011, maintained that the request for the meeting came from the IMF and that they discussed the situation of the Turkish lira.

Öztrak held a press briefing and said the meeting was not secret and reminded that regular IMF consultations are held upon an invitation from the finance ministry.

On Sunday the pro-government daily reported that an IMF delegation, led by Ben Kelmanson, the institution’s senior resident representative, met with Öztrak, Yılmaz and Refet Gürkaynak, an academic from Bilkent University and a prominent Turkish economist.

Experts say it is routine for the IMF to meet with prominent people during the preparation of country reports.

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