Turkey in recession for first time in decade

Turkey’s economy fell into its first recession in a decade at the end of last year, official data has shown, as the country heads towards key local elections at the end of the month.

Gross domestic product (GDP) in the fourth quarter fell by a seasonally adjusted 2.4 percent compared with the previous three months, the Turkish Statistics Institute said on Monday. The drop followed a contraction of 1.6 percent in the third quarter.

Two consecutive quarter-on-quarter contractions in economic output is widely considered to be the definition of a recession.

Despite the downturn, which was expected by economists and analysts, Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said, “The worst is behind, in terms of economic activity”.

“The worst forecasts were not realised,” he wrote on Twitter after the data was published.

Last year, the economy was battered by a 30 percent slide in the value of the lira brought on by concerns over a diplomatic spat with the United States and central bank independence.

The country is holding local elections on March 31, with growth and inflation expected to be key issues for voters.