Turkey’s Erdoğan admits delay to 2023 targets

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has promised that his Justice and Development Party (AKP) will fulfil the series of ambitious targets it set out for the Turkish Republic’s centenary in 2023 – but only after years of delays.

The original goals for 2023 were written in 2011, a period when Turkey’s economy was booming with double digit growth and the AKP government was widely praised internationally.

Targets included raising the gross domestic product to $2 trillion and raising per capita income to $25,000. They also vowed to raise the export volume to $500 million and to reduce unemployment to 5 percent.

The intervening years have been difficult for Turkey, making those ambitious goals impossible to attain. In July, eight years after the targets were set, GDP remained at $784 billion, per capita income at under $10,000, and exports at $168 million.

That month, the AKP announced that it was effectively halving the ambitious targets set in 2011. Erdoğan's latest statement admits a delay is likely, without specifying whether the president was referring to the original targets or the new ones announced in July.

“Even if we’re delayed by a few years, we will certainly reach our 2023 targets”, left-wing daily quoted Erdoğan as saying.

Turkey went through a torrid economic year in 2018, when it faced a currency crisis that reduced its value by nearly 30 percent against the dollar and entered a technical recession in the final quarter.

Economists have been more positive this year about Turkey’s economic outlook, but still expect the country to have no growth in 2019.

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