Turkish analyst predicts Finance Minister Simsek's departure within a year

Turkish analyst predicts Finance Minister Simsek's departure within a year
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Turkish columnist Mustafa Balbay predicts that Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek will step down within a year due to growing doubts about the accuracy of economic data released by the TUIK, along with diverging economic views with President Erdogan

Turkey's Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek will step down from his position within a year, an influential Turkish political analyst predicted on Monday.

The remarks of Mustafa Balbay, who writes for Turkey’s Cumhuriyet newspaper, stem from a growing skepticism over the accuracy of the statistical data released by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK), with claims that even Minister Simsek himself finds these figures to be less than credible, he said.

In an exclusive interview in Cumhuriyet TV, Balbay expressed his belief that Mehmet Simsek's tenure as the Finance Minister would become a subject of intense discussion in the following months. He hinted that Simsek's growing disillusionment with the reliability of TUIK's data could potentially lead to his resignation.

"The programs of the IMF set targets and economic measures and presented figures. Unfortunately, there's an international lack of confidence in many of the Turkish State statistics. Mehmet Simsek has come to realize that the numbers aren't trustworthy when making plans. It's becoming evident that he finds TUIK's figures particularly unrealistic, and it seems he's been grappling with this concern for some time."

The disparity of opinions between President Tayyip Erdogan and Simsek also emerged as a noteworthy aspect of Balbay's analysis. Balbay pointed out that a divergence of views exists between Erdogan and Simsek, which could potentially escalate into a conflict as time progresses.

"Mehmet Simsek predicts that we'll start seeing some improvements around mid-2024, and inflation will decrease. However, Erdogan desires a sense of relief to be felt a few months before the local elections, which are in early 2024, to ensure a successful outcome. Mehmet Simsek, on the other hand, argues that we're entering a phase where results might not be visible for at least a year. This clearly indicates a clash of perspectives."

He added: "I know that Simsek hasn't been able to execute his envisioned plan. If an economic decision that Simsek disagrees with is imposed and he ends up leaving, Erdogan will likely criticize him for not achieving the desired results. It's as if everyone is at fault except for Erdogan. This narrative aligns with the current economic scenario. Erdogan has strategically positioned himself, appointing Simsek as the head of this economic endeavor, which he'll use to explain his strategy to the members of the AKP (Justice and Development Party). An intriguing narrative is unfolding."