Coup costs Turkey economy $100 billion: minister

Istanbul, TurkeyUpdated: Aug 02, 2016, 11:16 AM IST

In photo: People take pictures on a street near the Galata Tower, illuminated in Turkish flag colors on August 1,2016 at Galata district in Istanbul. Photograph:(AFP)

The foiled coup attempt seeking to unseat the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has cost the Turkish economy 300 billion Lira ($100 billion), the trade minister was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

Customs and Commerce Minister Bulent Tufenkci was quoted as saying by the Hurriyet newspaper that the heavy price tag may even increase, but insisted that Turkey's economic fundamentals were solid. "Warplanes, helicopters, weapons, bombs, buildings: 300 billion Lira. Maybe I am underestimating a bit," he said, referring to the heavy destruction on the night of the coup. "It might go up even more," he said.

But the minister warned that the entire picture should be seen in a medium-term context, even if some investors had been put off in the short-term. "The putschists made Turkey seem like a third world country," he fumed. "They (investors) are not coming after the images revealed tanks were deployed on the streets, parliament was bombed," he said, adding that some foreign orders had been cancelled in the wake of the coup.

But Tufenkci said despite all this Turkey had managed to control the situation. "Had the coup taken place in another country, markets would not have opened earlier than in a week," he said. The coup took place on Friday July 15, but financial markets in Turkey opened as normal after the weekend.

"The interest rates didn't rise extraordinarily. The stock exchange's losses have been limited. There's no need to revise growth or export figures. The nation has stood firm." The government has suspended annual leave of public sector personnel in the wake of the coup attempt, blamed by the government on supporters of US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen.

This measure has affected the tourism industry, already hit by foreigners staying away over security fears after a spate of attacks, as well as a crisis with Russia. "Because of a ban on annual leave, one million (tourism) reservations had been cancelled," the minister said. The number of foreigners visiting Turkey dropped over 40 per cent in June to its lowest level this year, but there is optimism the Russians will come back after Ankara mended fences with Moscow.

"From now on tourism will also rally," said Tufenkci.