Wires

Fitch optimism lifts Turkish lira off lows, bonds flat

* Lira recovers from initial losses

* Shares, bonds flat By Seltem Iyigun

ISTANBUL, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Ahead of its annual ratingsreview of Turkey, Fitch said the country was making goodprogress in dealing with the financial crisis, comments whichhelped lift the Turkish lira from an earlier 1-month low.

Late in August, the ratings agency said it may raiseTurkey's long-term rating to investment grade if it makesprogress towards its potential growth rate, trims inflation toits target rate and narrows the current account gap to a moresustainable level.

"We will be looking at it again quite soon. Regulatoryissues mean we have to look again every year so we are quiteclose to that," Fitch head of Emerging Europe Sovereigns, PaulRawkins, told a conference in London.

"What we're really looking for is whether Turkey has managedto steer its way to a soft landing. So far the evidence is good,they ticked a lot of boxes... The issues are it's still a veryvolatile economy," he said in a presentation.

Fitch rates Turkey's creditworthiness at BB+ with a stableoutlook, one notch below investment grade.

By 1004 GMT, the lira was at 1.8176 against the dollar, virtually flat with 1.8180 late on Tuesday. Inearly trade touched 1.8265, its weakest level since Sept. 5.

"The fact that Fitch said it was close to reviewing Turkey'scredit rating boosted the lira. We expect Fitch to review it inNovember. I don't think there will be a ratings upgrade but justan upgrade of the outlook," said Tufan Comert, strategist atGaranti Securities.

"We don't expect the lira to depreciate excessively in theupcoming period due to the high forex liquidity in the localmarket and the effectiveness of the central bank's liquiditymanagement tools," Comert said.

Tighter monetary policy by the central bank in the lastquarter of 2011 and the start of 2012 helped steer Turkey'seconomy softly down as growth slows, narrowing its large currentaccount deficit and bringing down inflation.

The International Monetary Fund said on Monday it expectedTurkey, Europe's fastest-growing economy last year with growthof 8.5 percent, to expand at a "more measured pace" of 3 percentin 2012 despite weak growth in the European Union, its maintrading partner.

Turkey's main share index was 0.19 percent up at68,194 points, outperforming a 0.37 percent fall in the emergingmarkets index .

The yield on Turkey's two-year benchmark bond

was flat at 7.63 percent.

(Additional reporting by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by NickTattersall and Toby Chopra)

((seltem.iyigun@thomsonreuters.com)(+90 212 350 70 62)(ReutersMessaging: seltem.iyigun.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: MARKETS TURKEY/