In early April Turkish unions launched a mass demonstration to protest against plans for pension and health insurance reform. This follows an early March two hour “warning strike”. The transportation, street cleaning, education and health services stopped during the strikes. The social security reform is a condition of the IMF’s stand-by arrangement (SBA) with Turkey, and failure to fulfil it could delay the next loan disbursement of $1.3 billion under the programme due to expire in May. The Turkish economy minister Mehmet Simsek announced in late March that a new SBA was unlikely because the government did not need the money, but concluded that some sort of IMF programme, such as a precautionary arrangement, would be signed.
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