Turkey's most senior International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the spokesman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) slammed what they called a "secret" meeting between some opposition party representatives and IMF officials.
Arriving for a visit as part of the fund's Article IV consultation, an annual economic assessment of each of its member countries, IMF officials, although not in the official program, met with representatives of the Republican People's Party (CHP) and Good Party (İP), reports said over the weekend.
Reported participants included Durmuş Yılmaz, a former central bank governor and current İP member, and Faik Öztrak, the CHP's deputy chairman responsible for economic policies.
Ruling AK Party spokesman Ömer Çelik condemned the opposition for claiming "the government would make a deal with the IMF" and "then secretly meeting with them."
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has previously on a number of occasions slammed claims by the CHP that Turkey would seek to negotiate with the IMF, saying that the era of Turkey taking out loans from the IMF has long past. He had stressed that Turkey closed its IMF chapter in May 2013, and that it will not be reopened.
"What is interesting here is that every day they criticize the government saying it will eventually go to the IMF, then they go and secretly meet with the IMF officials. There is a double standard here. For them, this also points to an inconsistency," Çelik stressed.
Çelik said that before the March 31 elections, the CHP had taken a stance critical of the government's economic policies. "But now we see that they hold this kind of secret meeting themselves," he continued. "Of course, the abnormal thing is that they are not the ruling party, and they have no responsibility to govern Turkey in any way. Therefore, it is up to them to reveal what they have discussed. What is strange is that the lines are mixed here on whether the IMF officials are consulting the CHP's criticism of the economy or the CHP is advising the IMF."
IMF Executive Director Raci Kaya called the meeting illegitimate, stressing it was held secretly and was an indication that "there is a different kind of agenda against the country."
Kaya, a former chairman of Turkey's public lender Vakıfbank, was appointed executive director for the 2018-2020 period last October.
He represents a group of eight European countries— Turkey, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Belarus, Slovakia and Kosovo – in the IMF's executive directorate.