In the global economic outlook published by Moody's international credit rating agency, a 2.5 to 3.5 percent growth rate was expected for Turkey this year and next year. It further stated that high inflation and interest rates and a decline in exports were expected in developing economies. Moody's was to issue a public statement concerning Turkey right before the presidential election possibly about lowering Turkey's credit rating.
Although Moody's postponed this statement, a day after the presidential elections, another international credit rating agency, Fitch, threatened Turkey with a declaration that read, "We will lower Turkey's credit rating if the central bank of Turkey continues its low interest rate policy." "Threaten" would be the correct term here as such statements and threatening declarations have now become a usual tactic in the 20th century in order to maintain control over developing economies.
Currently Turkey is a country that is open to international markets, that applies a floating exchange rate policy, allows inflow of foreign funds and has lowered the transactions in the grey-market. Turkey is not run by an autarchic regime that restricts entry to the market nor is it a country where monopolies and oligopolistic criminal organizations prevail. The Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) is 100 percent an independent institution and whether the CBRT will lower the interest rates and decide on which monetary policy it will adopt can only be decided by the Monetary Policy Board (PPK). PPK will not increase or decrease the interest rates just because a credit rating agency would increase or decrease Turkey's credit rating.
It has become pretty apparent that the intentions of such declarations are; to manage, steer and control Turkey's economy just like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) did in the past. By asserting that Turkey has fundamental structural problems and with the excuse to eliminate high inflation rates and the current account deficit, such agencies and similar institutions are proposing useless solutions that are shaped according to their own benefits. Unlike what they claim, such institutions are not aiming to establish an open economy on behalf of the financial capitalists they represent.
In the past, which monetary authorities were controlling the economies of underdeveloped or developing countries such as Argentina, Turkey and even Afghanistan and Angola? Of course, the IMF and ratings agencies which were extensions of the IMF.
First of all, the problem of inflation in Turkey is a structural problem and cannot be eliminated through using only palliative monetary policy tools. In countries like Turkey, high inflation is not a result of high demand. In order to improve, such countries need to support investments and average industrials' profitability rates should be higher than the current interest rates. Accordingly, the local currencies should not be depreciated and should be competitive. Another reason for the chronic inflation in countries such as Turkey is the rigid monopolistic and oligopolistic markets and the prices which are higher than required by market conditions.
Right now Turkey is implementing various anti-monopoly regulations. President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdoğan emphasized two major issues; to ensure that the Turkish economy is a completely open economy with an orderly market – which can only be achieved by allowing a free inflow of funds and supporting investments. The second crucial matter according to Erdoğan is the interest rates; the rates should be determined within the markets and lower the financing costs of companies. In order to achieve such aims, Erdoğan's government is striving to implement various anti-monopoly regulations and will continue to do so.
What do credit rating agencies such as Fitch suggest in order to eliminate high inflation rates in Turkey? The solutions offered by them are just like any monetary authority would offer.
In other words, the recipe is the same: increase the interest rates above the average industrial profitability level and the world's average and due to short term capital inflows, your currency is unnecessarily valuable. Then, the country moves deeper into debt, dependent on imports and not able to compete in the global markets and in the meantime, the current account deficit and inflation problems continue. This method is not logical in terms of a sustainable economy and it's been tested and tried and proved to be non-functional.
Turkey will not choose this path. Even if they lower Turkey's credit rating, Turkey will not lose anything. Right when Europe and the U.S. are in a liquidity trap, Turkey is one of the few developing economies that investors are willing to consider. Large economies such as Turkey's are strong enough not to suffer as a result of such threats. This is not the 80s and whoever threatens Turkey might suffer a loss in return. While Europe is suffering with recession and Russia is challenging Europe; the efforts in trying to "corner" Turkey will not succeed.