According an announcement from the Finance Ministry on Thursday, the Turkish budget produced a TL 439 million ($233 million) surplus in the first 11 months of the year. It had a deficit of TL 23.5 billion during the same period last year, and a TL 1.7 billion deficit in the first 10 months of this year. It also had a non-interest surplus, the figure calculated when all interest payments are assumed to be null, of TL 41.25 billion in the January-November period, marking an 80.3 percent year-on-year increase. This non-interest budget surplus figure was nearly three times higher than the government’s year-end target.
The strong budget performance this year came at a time when most European Union members, something which Turkey also aspires to become, are suffering from wide budget deficits. Turkey owes its budget achievements to the fiscal discipline it has adhered to, particularly in the past decade.
The same disciplined approach to government spending accompanied by successful privatizations and increased efforts to raise the state’s tax revenue also brought the public debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio lower in Turkey. It was 42.2 percent last year, compared to a 27-member EU average of 80.2 percent, and is expected to decline to 39.8 percent by the end of this year.
Government revenues were TL 272.76 billion, whereas its expenditures totaled TL 272.32 billion in the first 11 months of this year. It collected TL 234.1 billion in taxes from individuals and corporations in the January-November period of this year, 21.6 percent more than what it collected a year ago.
In remarks to the Anatolia news agency following the announcement, Minister of Finance Mehmet Şimşek said the budget will, however, have a deficit in the last month of the year because of an extra TL 10 billion the government is spending mainly on infrastructure, education and healthcare. “If this extra spending had not been done, we would have ended the year with a budget deficit significantly lower than our year-end target,” Şimşek said, adding that the year-end target, 1.7 percent of GDP, will nevertheless be easily met.