Turkish leader touts tax-free forex sales for exporters

Turkish leader touts tax-free forex sales for exporters

Turkey’s president on Sunday touted the benefits for Turkish exporters in their being exempt from taxes over foreign currency purchases.

"Exporters will not pay exchange tax when buying foreign currency," President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the Turkish Exporters Assembly in Istanbul.

Turkey's exports rose to $171.4B this May, which is positive but still falls short, as in fact they should top $200B, he added.

Erdogan stressed that Ankara is "very close" to moving Turkey from a country with a current account deficit to one with a surplus.

On Friday the Central Bank said the current account posted a $1.3B deficit in April, improved from a $5.6B deficit in the same month last year.

Last year, the current account balance posted a deficit of around $27.6 billion, improving from a nearly $47.5 billion deficit in 2017.

The figure was the lowest since 2009, while Turkey’s highest annual current account deficit over the last decade was seen in 2011, with $74.4 billion.

The country's new economic program, announced last September, targets a current-account-deficit-to-GDP ratio of 3.3% this year.

Istanbul vote next week

Speaking ahead of the Istanbul mayoral revote, set for one week from today, Erdogan said that anyone who respects democracy and the law must approve the outcome of next Sunday's election.

People's Alliance candidate Binali Yildirim and Nation Alliance candidate Ekrem Imamoglu will again vie for the Istanbul mayor’s seat after the Supreme Election Council (YSK) ordered a re-run of the March 31 Istanbul polls.

The results of the March vote were canceled after the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) appealed to the council, citing irregularities and violations of election law.

Eastern Mediterranean

On the Greek Cypriot administration reportedly issuing arrest warrants for the crew of the Turkish-flagged drillship Fatih in the Eastern Mediterranean, Erdogan said such warrants represent “false hopes.”

The Fatih drillship launched its offshore drilling operations on May 3 in an area 75 kilometers (some 41 nautical miles) off the western coast of Cyprus.

The area falls entirely within the Turkish continental shelf registered with the UN and under permit licenses that the Turkish government granted to Turkish Petroleum in previous years.

Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, saying the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus also has rights to the resources in the area.

In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’ annexation by Greece, Ankara intervened as a guarantor power. In 1983, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was founded.