Turkey's economic performance was considerably higher than that of EU member states and eurozone economies last year in terms of the ratio of public debt to gross domestic product (GDP), which was lower in Turkey than 26 out of 28 EU member states. Moreover, the ratio of public debt to GDP in Turkey was 28.3 percent, compared to Germany and Greece with ratios of 68.3 percent and 179 percent, respectively.
According to data compiled from the EU statistical body Eurostat and information provided by the Treasury, only two countries performed higher than Turkey in terms of the public-debt-to-GDP ratio, indicating that Turkey has outperformed the majority of EU member states.
In 2016, the public-debt-to-GDP ratio in the EU was 83.5 percent. During the same period, the Eurozone - consisting of EU member states that use the euro as national currency - saw its ratio reach 89.2 percent.
In the same period, upon the implementation of fiscal discipline and effective public debt management measures in Turkey, the EU-defined public (net) debt stock to national income ratio stood at 28.3 percent.
Thus, the public-debt-to-GDP ratio in Turkey last year was lower than 26 out of 28 EU countries.
Greece has highest public debt ratio
Associated with economic and financial crises in recent years, Greece has implemented a wave of reforms amid pressure from creditors for its financial bailout. The country had the highest public-debt-to-GDP ratio in the EU in 2016. In Greece, the ratio of public debt has reached a staggering 179 percent, followed by Italy with 132.6 percent and Portugal with 130.4 percent. The said ratio was 107.8 percent in the Republic of Cyprus, compared to 105.9 percent in Belgium, which hosts major EU institutions and NATO headquarters.
Turkey in better shape than leading economies
The largest economy in Europe, Germany saw a public-debt-to-GDP ratio of 68.3 percent in 2016, compared to 96 percent in France. Among other leading economies, the said ratio was recorded at 89.3 percent in the U.K., which has decided to leave the EU, and 99.4 percent in Spain in the same period.
In 2016, the lowest public-debt-to-GPD ratio in the EU was recorded in Estonia, where the ratio stood at 9.5 percent, followed by Luxemburg with 20 percent. Moreover, the said two countries are the only two that saw lower public-debt-to-GDP ratios than Turkey.
According to the Maastricht criterion, which stipulates the conditions required for participation in the Economic and Monetary Union of EU member states, public debt stocks should not exceed 60 percent of the GDP, meaning the majority of the total 28 EU member states do not fulfill the said stipulation.