Turkey’s banks, and its economy, stand on the brink

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The February currency crisis has left Turkish banks bereft of capital. Disciplines imposed after the December 1999 IMF stand-by agreement mean that they are unable to replenish their reserves in the time-honoured way – by lending to the government. Underlying the sector’s particular problems – the only answer to which seems to lie in consolidation and foreign investment – is a generalized economic quagmire in which flounders a discredited political elite. There is little optimism to be found among those in the know in Turkey and the most pessimistic predict that a third crisis is just around the corner.