Saturday, August 30, 2014
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Why Turkey is Thriving

NEW YORK – A recent visit to Turkey reminded me of its enormous economic successes during the last decade. The economy has grown rapidly, inequality is declining, and innovation is on the rise.

Turkey’s achievements are all the more remarkable when one considers its neighborhood. Its neighbors to the west, Cyprus and Greece, are at the epicenter of the eurozone crisis. To the southeast is war-torn Syria, which has already disgorged almost 400,000 refugees into Turkey. To the east lie Iraq and Iran. And to the northeast lie Armenia and Georgia. If there is a more complicated neighborhood in the world, it would be difficult to find it.

Yet Turkey has made remarkable strides in the midst of regional upheavals. After a sharp downturn in 1999-2001, the economy grew by 5% per year on average from 2002 to 2012. It has remained at peace, despite regional wars. Its banks avoided the boom-bust cycle of the past decade, having learned from the banking collapse in 2000-2001. Inequality has been falling. And the government has won three consecutive general elections, each time with a greater share of the popular vote.

There is nothing flashy about Turkey’s rise, which has been based on fundamentals, rather than bubbles or resource discoveries. Indeed, Turkey lacks its neighbors’ oil and gas resources, but it compensates for this with the competitiveness of its industry and services. Tourism alone attracted more than 36 million visitors in 2012, making Turkey one of the world’s top destinations.

Even a short stay in Ankara allows one to see these underlying strengths. The airport, highways, and other infrastructure are first class, and a high-speed intercity rail network links Ankara with other parts of the country. Much of the advanced engineering is homegrown. Turkish construction firms are internationally competitive and increasingly win bids throughout the Middle East and Africa.

Turkey’s universities are rising as well. Ankara has become a hub of higher education, attracting students from Africa and Asia. Many top programs are in English, ensuring that Turkey will attract an increasing number of international students. And the country’s universities are increasingly spinning off high-tech companies in avionics, information technology, and advanced electronics, among other areas.

To its credit, Turkey has begun to invest heavily in sustainable technologies. The country is rich in wind, geothermal, and other renewable energy, and will most likely become a global exporter of advanced green innovations.

Waste-treatment facilities are not typically tourist attractions, but Ankara’s novel integrated urban waste-management system has rightly attracted global attention. Until a few years ago, the waste was dumped into a fetid, stinking, noxious landfill. Now, with cutting-edge technology, the landfill has been turned into a green zone.

The private waste-management company ITC receives thousands of tons of solid municipal waste each day. The waste is separated into recyclable materials (plastics, metals) and organic waste. The organic waste is processed in a fermentation plant, producing compost and methane, which is used to produce electricity in a 25-megawatt power plant. The electricity is returned to the city’s power grid, while the heat exhaust is piped to the facility’s greenhouses, which produce tomatoes, strawberries, and orchids.

Turkey’s diversified, innovative base of industry, construction, and services serves it well in a world in which market opportunities are shifting from the United States and Western Europe to Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Turkey has been deft in seizing these new opportunities, with exports increasingly headed south and east to the emerging economies, rather than west to high-income markets. This trend will continue, as Africa and Asia become robust markets for Turkey’s construction firms, information technology, and green innovations.

So, how did Turkey do it? Most important, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his economics team, led by Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, have stuck to basics and looked to the long term. Erdoğan came to power in 2003, after years of short-term instability and banking crises. The International Monetary Fund had been called in for an emergency rescue. Step by step, the Erdoğan-Babacan strategy was to rebuild the banking sector, get the budget under control, and invest heavily and consistently where it counts: infrastructure, education, health, and technology.

Smart diplomacy has also helped. Turkey has remained a staunchly moderate voice in a region of extremes. It has kept an open door and balanced diplomacy (to the extent possible) with the major powers in its neighborhood. This has helped Turkey not only to maintain its own internal balance, but also to win markets and keep friends without the heavy baggage and risks of divisive geopolitics.

No doubt, Turkey’s ability to continue on a rapid growth trajectory remains uncertain. Any combination of crises – the eurozone, Syria, Iraq, Iran, or world oil prices – could create instability. Another global financial crisis could disrupt short-term capital inflows. A dangerous neighborhood means inescapable risks, though Turkey has demonstrated a remarkable capacity during the last decade to surmount them.

Moreover, the challenge of raising educational quality and attainment, especially of girls and women, remains a priority. Fortunately, the government has clearly acknowledged the education challenge and is pursuing it through school reforms, increased investments, and the introduction of new information technologies in the classroom.

Turkey’s successes have deep roots in governmental capacity and its people’s skills, reflecting decades of investment and centuries of history dating back to Ottoman times. Other countries cannot simply copy these achievements; but they can still learn the main lesson that is too often forgotten in a world of “stimulus,” bubbles, and short-term thinking. Long-term growth stems from prudent monetary and fiscal policies, the political will to regulate banks, and a combination of bold public and private investments in infrastructure, skills, and cutting-edge technologies.

Read more from our "Turkey's Reckoning" Focal Point.

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  1. CommentedNecati Alkan

    The ones who are thriving in Turkey are the AKP and the firms and families attached to it.

  2. CommentedKubilay M Öztürk

    It is such an irony to get lectured on objectivity from a columnist at the daily known as government's mouthpiece.

  3. CommentedMurat Yulek

    It is always good to at least try to be objective. A lot of real world experience is needed to say anything valuable.

  4. CommentedKubilay M Öztürk

    It is good to see some people finally agree with the premise that Turkiye's growth story is far from perfect. A timely question at this point is why are some people feeling obliged to eagerly fend off any factual criticism on Turkiye's economic story, particularly given that these have been already acknowledged at the policy-making level? Complementing Jeffrey's article with these 'old' arguments should then be welcome rather than disturbing because the team who did make the pitch to Jeffrey clearly 'forgot' to mention them.

  5. CommentedMurat Yulek

    Turkey a "atellar" growth: yes as you have agreed.
    Are there areas to improve or to better: of course.

    meanwhile some of the criticisms you pose are not quite robust. Those and many others have been already discussed and known even by the turkish policymakers. Not much new under the sun!

  6. CommentedKubilay M Öztürk

    The argument here is not to dispute Turkiye's stellar growth recently, but the way such performance has been achieved. Unfortunately, Turkiye's story over the last decade has been depicted as if it came out of Alice's Wonderland (i.e. without any meaningful frailties): sustainable, politically stable, no balance sheet problems, sound fiscal balances, absence of bubbles, etc. Yet, in reality there have been new fault lines embedded into the economy in the form of over-dependence on short-term external capital flows, a 'structurally' unbalanced growth dominated by domestic consumption but not net exports, increased lack of competitiveness in exports, a real sector balance sheet exposed not only to FX movements but also to domestic property prices, and more importantly, absence of inclusive political institutions. It is then alarming to see some prominent development economists, such as Jeffrey, buy into that 'Alice-in-Wonderland' scenario - most probably due to lack of a complete picture - and mistakes a sustainable growth model for a transient one. The informed should take these points on board from here and, if they are genuine, spend more time on how to overcome these frailties rather than denying them. Putting Turkiye on a sustainable path of growth has a common appeal. However, unintended misconceptions as in Jeffrey's article or intended diversions by some people who have deep vested interests in the current status quo are taking Turkiye in the wrong direction.

  7. CommentedMurat Yulek

    Re. sustainability: Real world is quite different from Alice's Wonderland. It is also quite different from textbook economics. So much on sustainability. Criticisims are always welcome. I criticise Turkish policymakers many times as well. As I do with some policymakers in other countries.

    What I dont understand is why some people are so much eager to disprove Dr Sachs and Turkey's recent economic success???

  8. CommentedMurat ASLAN

    Mr.Sachs it's good to see that a famous professor sees the reality in Turkey and appreciate the success of government. Turkey's achievement is such a clear in its territory even in the world. However some of turks struggling to not to understand not to see. You told truth thank you for that. ı hope my people also see the truth...

  9. CommentedKubilay M Öztürk

    Sustainable development requires structurally sound public finances. One-off privatisation revenues and cyclical incomes easily help you achieve improved primary surpluses but these are bound to be transitory. What matters is the structural budget balance which shows your actual budget balance less the effects of cyclical deviations of output from potential output. Turkey failed to record an improvement on this front with its headline number remained in negative territory to the order of 3.5% over the last decade. This shows yet again how the government squandered a big opportunity to deliver on structural reforms when the conditions were ripe. Secondly, a healthy balance in fiscal accounts is a necessary but insufficient condition. A clean balance sheet in the private sector is also required. As of early this year, corporate sector's open FX position reached c17% of GDP, pointing to overwhelming sensitivity of their operations to currency movements - and hence the central bank's focus on TRY. The picture gets even more gloomier when you take all-time high short term external debt of the private sector into account. Finally, academia have already provided a myriad of evidence on the importance of inclusive political institutions for sustainable development. The mayhem taking place in the country over the last ten days bluntly shows such institutions simply do not exist in Turkiye.

  10. CommentedMurat Yulek

    Moreover, the quality of sending increased. The budget of the Ministry of Education has the lion's share. The Scientific Support Agency is spending hundreds of millions of dollars in support of scientific research by universities and businesses.

  11. CommentedMurat Yulek

    Even a casual look at the Turkish story would reveal that the main emphasis is on sustainability. Turkish politicians deliberately rejected populist economic policies. The country kept a primary surplus at the order of 5-5 pc of GDP for many years instead of spending money on populism as in many other developing (and developed) countries. These policies paid the country back handsomely during the global crises. Turkey not has the among the best fiscal indicators in the world whereas it was basically bankrupt some 15 years ago.

  12. CommentedKubilay M Öztürk

    Size matters, particularly to the layman. High growth numbers, rising global sales, gigantic architectural projects always have a public appeal. Yet, informed journalists and more importantly experts have a duty to explain how these numbers add up. What Jeffrey misses is the latter part. He does not provide a counterfactual analysis that whether these numbers would be there if there had not been unprecedented period of global liquidity glut. Development economists know better than anyone else that what matters for prosperity is sustainable growth based on healthy savings and an accommodative environment. For the case of Turkiye, size was there - and it mattered a lot, particularly when the rest of world was drowning - but its quality was alarming. An informed look at the level of private external debt and its maturity will speak for itself. Talking about minor reforms whose impact is mostly likely negligible, is a red herring.

  13. CommentedMurat Yulek

    Turkey is now talking about cleaner energy production (including thru nuclear), building one of the largest airports in the world making Istanbul a global aviation hub, building third intercontinental bridge of the world, its contractors are considered among top 3 in the world (together with the USA, and China). Its national flag carrier is now considered among the ebst in the world and is the has the largest international destination list among ALL other airlines of the world. Turkey has started a talent program whereby it is among the top countries which have students studying in the western universities and is attracting the talent back to itself by various programs. It has instituted or participated in student mobility programs. It is among the top countries globally in terms of growth in scientific publications. So Prof. Sachs has it quite right spotting a good example from which other developing countries may draw lessons.

  14. Portrait of Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan

    CommentedSebnem Kalemli-Ozcan

    It has been less than a week since the publication of Jeffrey Sachs Project Syndicate column, “Why Turkey is Thriving?” dated May 27, 2013. And it has been five days since the peaceful protests that started in Istanbul’s landmark Taksim square turned into a nation-wide movement with hundreds of thousands of people taking the streets protesting against Turkey’s current government.

    Sachs, and others, have rightly acknowledged and praised the Erdoğan government for its economic policies, which have led to a higher growth rate. But the question is whether a developing country like Turkey can sustain rapid economic growth if the same government is undermining basic liberties and impeding the advance of key institutions needed for long-term success.

    The Erdoğan government’s brutal response to the protests highlights this dilemma. Initially, fewer than 200 peaceful demonstrators gathered in an effort to protect Taksim Square – the last green space left in central Istanbul – against the construction of yet another shopping mall. As the government cracked down, with Erdoğan adopting an uncompromising position in defiant speeches, the protests grew – and continue to grow, despite (or perhaps because of) the use of excessive police force. Unofficial figures indicate that more than 1,000 people have been injured so far, and more than 1,000 have been arrested.

    True, Turkey’s annual GDP growth has averaged 5% over the last decade of rule by Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP). But this should not lead anyone to conclude that Turkey is a development success story. If we have learned anything from the extensive research on growth and development that now exists, the key to sustainable progress lies in a country’s institutional design.

    Institutions embody and reinforce a society’s rules. They consist of both informal constraints (traditions and cultural norms) and formal rules (constitutions, laws, and regulations). They shape the structure of an economy.

    There is an important distinction between policies and institutions. Policies reflect choices that are made within a political and social structure – that is, within a set of institutions. It is the institutions within which policies are framed that ultimately affect economic performance. Property rights, for example, influence investment decisions by protecting entrepreneurs against the risk of expropriation, and an independent judiciary is necessary to ensure credible enforcement of such rights.

    Turkey still lacks the institutions that are critical for long-term progress. Its International Country Risk Guide score (a commonly used index that measures the overall quality of a country’s institutions) is one of the lowest in the OECD. Turkey also ranks last in the OECD’s Better Life Index. Only 31% of adults aged 25-64 have completed secondary school; inequality is dangerously high; and, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, more journalists are imprisoned in Turkey than in any other country, including China and Iran. The 2013 report by the democracy watchdog Freedom House indicates that civil liberties in Turkey are increasingly threatened.

    In recent years, much research has investigated the complex relationship between culture and institutions, with the former creating a set of informal constraints on the latter. Can Turkey lead the way among Muslim-majority countries in showing that a rather conservative culture is not a constraint on the type of institutions that are needed for sustainable growth and development?

    Turkey’s success, as measured in terms of economic growth, is impressive indeed. Prudent monetary and fiscal policies, a cleanup of the banking system after the 2000-2001 crisis, and investment in infrastructure surely played a part. These policies set in motion a process of transitional/catch-up growth, with Turkey steadily closing the income gap vis-à-vis rich countries.

    But we should not mistake transitional growth with long-term success, which requires strong institutions, including protection of property rights and civil liberties. This, in turn, will help to realize investments in education (especially for women) and technology, together with structural reforms, all of which have been highlighted as areas of concern in several studies of Turkey in recent years. It is far too early to ask, “How did Turkey do it?” and declare an answer based on policies that will boost short-run growth but that will run out of steam if not properly augmented.

    Whether or not Turkey is a long-run development success remains to be seen. The indicators so far are not very favorable. The recent events in Taksim Square and in other Turkish cities are a stark reminder of the country’s still-weak institutional infrastructure. People are still in the streets – and they seem in no hurry to go home. I hear them chanting as I write this: “Democracy without liberty is no democracy.”

  15. CommentedKubilay M Öztürk

    I guess the analysis here is a prime example for how people - even the experts - could easily fall for the fallacy of WYSIATI ('What You See Is All There Is'), a term popularized by Kahneman and Tversky. It is simply related to focusing too much on existing information available in public domain (i.e. jumping to conclusions) and ignoring absent evidence . The content of Jeffrey's article hints that he was probably given a detailed presentation by Turkish officials during his time in Ankara, explaining the overwhelming tone in favor of the government. But there are two main problems with it. First, some crucial info he was provided is not entirely correct: Turkish exports are suffering from low technology intensity (i.e. lack of innovation), inequality has not improved much, and there are clear signs of bubbling in some Turkish assets [property, stocks] that seem out of whack with fundamentals. Second, apparently he was not told about the ongoing political polarization, which is now taking the form of mass social protests across the country against the government, politicization of pivotal state institutions and circumcised freedom of speech. Another evidence Jeffrey misses is the low-quality (or unsustainable) of Turkish growth, fueled by short-term external flows rather than domestic savings and exports. Lingeringly large current account deficit and lack of improvement in inflation are also symptoms pointing to structural deficiencies embedded into the economy. And despite dazzling headline growth numbers, continued existence of these problems just shows how government squandered a big opportunity to tackle them with much lower cost given that the rest of the world was falling over the cliff due to global crisis.

  16. CommentedAvraam Dectis

    .
    It is wonderful that Turkey is doing well, yet it still has to prove to the world that it is a civilized country and not a prisoner of the past.

    Turkey now occupies the northern third of Cyprus. It should withdraw to prove itself a civilized country.

    Otherwise, it can be assumed that Turkey reserves the right to invade and partition any European Union country with a Turkish minority.

    How would Germany feel if a rising Turkish population, currently 5% of Germany, became a pretext for Turkey to invade Germany, partition the country and declare a "Turkish Republic of Germany"?

    There are two easy solutions. First, Turkey could just withdraw. Second, the EU could impose an escalating tariff on any country that occupies EU territory, to continually grow until they withdraw and to be removed once they withdraw.

    Turkey must prove that it is civilized and not a prisoner of its history.

    Thank you.

    Avraam J. Dectis

  17. CommentedUtku Ören

    how ironic is it to see that just after couple of days after this piece was put online to see the social fabric of Turkey to tremble...?

  18. CommentedNecati Kent

    Professor, it would be better to change the title as "Why Turkey is thriving economically". You spelled the prime minister's surname correctly, but unfortunately you forgot to mention the social unrest between secular and deeply religious Turks. The protests of last days all over Turkey clearly show that, there are lots of steps to be taken by the government, public, private groups for a sustainable development in Turkey.

      CommentedAyse Tezcan

      cakiroglu - my sentiments exactly! and

      kalemli-ozcan - completely agree as i have written many times responding to the assertions that economic growth is somehow indication of welfare. in this article, there is no mention of turkey's performance on basic human rights. there cannot be a thriving without people's freedom of expression.

      additionally, there seems to be a general misconception that the religious people in turkey did not have freedom of expression prior to this government. it is correct that women, who worked in government institutions, could not wear head scarf and many carrying religious symbols have been looked down in higher education institutions in big cities. I am glad that they obtained their rights to freely express their beliefs and canparticipate in democratic process. however, i completely disagree that the religious people were oppressed in pre-akp turkey. if anyone, who lived in and visited smaller towns, pockets of big cities and much of eastern turkey, would tell you that the secular people were actually oppressed. women would need to dress modestly and could not enter coffee houses, bars, restaurants without being accompanied by men, the fathers would decide what daughters should do and not do, and whether can attend school.

      i am not sure how this dynamic changed in turkey in general, but if there is any improvement in status of women, i would attribute that to the accessibility of electronic and social media, not the policies of this government. the status of women only improved in secular sections and not with the help of the policies of the government, but because of the increase in general opportunities, which have been accesible to this small group for decades.

      due to worldwide economic developments, the economic growth was about to happen regardless of the regime in turkey.

      CommentedAyse Tezcan

      cakiroglu - my sentiments exactly! and

      kalemli-ozcan - completely agree as i have written many times responding to the assertions that economic growth is somehow indication of welfare. in this article, there is no mention of turkey's performance on basic human rights. there cannot be a thriving without people's freedom of expression.

      additionally, there seems to be a general misconception that the religious people in turkey did not have freedom of expression prior to this government. it is correct that women, who worked in government institutions, could not wear head scarf and many carrying religious symbols have been looked down in higher education institutions in big cities. I am glad that they obtained their rights to freely express their beliefs and canparticipate in democratic process. however, i completely disagree that the religious people were oppressed in pre-akp turkey. if anyone, who lived in and visited smaller towns, pockets of big cities and much of eastern turkey, would tell you that the secular people were actually oppressed. women would need to dress modestly and could not enter coffee houses, bars, restaurants without being accompanied by men, the fathers would decide what daughters should do and not do, and whether can attend school.

      i am not sure how this dynamic changed in turkey in general, but if there is any improvement in status of women, i would attribute that to the accessibility of electronic and social media, not the policies of this government. the status of women only improved in secular sections and not with the help of the policies of the government, but because of the increase in general opportunities, which have been accesible to this small group for decades.

      due to worldwide economic developments, the economic growth was about to happen regardless of the regime in turkey.

      CommentedAyse Tezcan

      cakiroglu - my sentiments exactly! and

      kalemli-ozcan - completely agree as i have written many times responding to the assertions that economic growth is somehow indication of welfare. in this article, there is no mention of turkey's performance on basic human rights. there cannot be a thriving without people's freedom of expression.

      additionally, there seems to be a general misconception that the religious people in turkey did not have freedom of expression prior to this government. it is correct that women, who worked in government institutions, could not wear head scarf and many carrying religious symbols have been looked down in higher education institutions in big cities. I am glad that they obtained their rights to freely express their beliefs and canparticipate in democratic process. however, i completely disagree that the religious people were oppressed in pre-akp turkey. if anyone, who lived in and visited smaller towns, pockets of big cities and much of eastern turkey, would tell you that the secular people were actually oppressed. women would need to dress modestly and could not enter coffee houses, bars, restaurants without being accompanied by men, the fathers would decide what daughters should do and not do, and whether can attend school.

      i am not sure how this dynamic changed in turkey in general, but if there is any improvement in status of women, i would attribute that to the accessibility of electronic and social media, not the policies of this government. the status of women only improved in secular sections and not with the help of the policies of the government, but because of the increase in general opportunities, which have been accesible to this small group for decades.

      due to worldwide economic developments, the economic growth was about to happen regardless of the regime in turkey.

  19. CommentedMurat Yulek

    I would add that there is significant regional development as well. The southeast Anatolian of Gaziantep is now home to direct and indirect industrial exports of over USD 8 billion.

  20. Portrait of Emre Deliveli

    CommentedEmre Deliveli

    I disagree with the premise of Jeffrey Sachs’s commentary. In fact, Turkey is not thriving.

    While my challenging Jeff, as he told me to call him when I was his teaching assistant at Harvard University, risks putting an amateur lightweight against a heavyweight champion, I cannot resist the urge to correct the several misconceptions in the article. And, when it comes to Turkey, I have a home-court advantage.

    For example, the decline in inequality that Sachs cites has been rather modest. The key to the ruling Justice and Development Party’s success has been the growing middle class, who have increased their income at the expense of both the richest and the poorest and whose purchasing power has risen significantly thanks to macroeconomic stability and falling interest rates.

    Likewise, while it is true that exports are “increasingly headed south and east to the emerging economies, rather than west to high-income markets,” the technological content of the country’s exports is falling. Many Turkish economists link the two, arguing that these new markets in the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia demand less sophisticated products.

    To be sure, Sachs has not gotten it all wrong. Although he does not dwell on the lack of structural reforms, economic vulnerabilities, or the housing boom, he is right that Turkey’s success has been built on fixing the banks. But I am shocked that he praises Turkey’s innovation and education, which have actually been found to be major constraints on investment.

    Sachs is the latest in a spate of celebrities, such as the actor Russell Crowe, who have recently declared their love for Turkey, or at least for Istanbul. I think that this is simply because more and more people are going is tin poli (“to the city”). Istanbul is now sixth in the MasterCard Index of Global Destination Cities, which ranks cities by total international visitor arrivals and spending.

    Interestingly, tourists’ perceptions of Istanbul – and, more generally, of Turkey – are vastly different from those of many locals. A recent Pew survey found Turks to be very pessimistic about the near future. While we Turks are a gloomy bunch, this pessimism is not unfounded; Turkey also ranked last in the OECD Better Life Index, which was released the same day that Sachs’ article was published.

    Many short-term visitors never see Istanbul’s ugly side. Their hotel is conveniently located away from the maddening traffic. They would not be aware of the latest alcohol bans. They would not get tear-gassed. They encounter only the most educated Turks. And, once the government delivers the finance arbitration that it has promised, they will think that Turkish courts are very efficient.

    Such duplicity also exists in Dubai, which had, along with Istanbul, the highest arrivals-growth rate in the MasterCard index. Perhaps because I write columns in English, I feel more like I am in colonial India, sahib.

    The original comment, with corresponding graphs and links, can be read here: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/why-turkey-is-not-thriving.aspx?pageID=449&nID=47915&NewsCatID=430"

      CommentedAyse Tezcan

      Mr Deliveli you nailed it! Your comment is a better analysis than Mr. Sachs'. Boynuz kulagi gecermis.. :)

  21. CommentedDeniz Can Akkaya

    One should also note that this famous Turkish growth is achieved at the expense of green areas in big cities like Istanbul. If your plan is to build more than 100 shopping malls in a city, naturally you have to sacrifice things that a real city needs. No need to be too optimistic about Turkey.

  22. CommentedBob Smith

    "There is nothing flashy about Turkey’s rise, which has been based on fundamentals, rather than bubbles."

    Turkey's economy is based on massive amounts of credit as explained here.

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NL04Ak01.html

  23. CommentedDavid Selim Sayers

    "Smart diplomacy has also helped. Turkey has remained a staunchly moderate voice in a region of extremes. It has kept an open door and balanced diplomacy (to the extent possible) with the major powers in its neighborhood." As a counter-balance, see the following statements by Fradkin and Libby in the Wall Street Journal: "Speaking at Dicle University in Diyarbakir on March 15, [Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet] Davutoglu called the past century a 'parenthesis': a departure from the authentic political order to which Kurds, Turkey and the Middle East will soon return. His talk, titled 'The Great Restoration: Our New Political Understanding from the Very Old to Globalization,' was colored deeply by the "neo-Ottomanism" that both he and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan champion." And: "Mr. Davutoglu's solution to the Kurdish problem is to turn the clock back 100 years, to the time before World War I when the Ottoman Empire held sway." (http://www.hudson.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=publication_details&id=9604)

  24. CommentedDavid Selim Sayers

    And while we're on the subject of women, one more edifying set of numbers: "Last year, the [Turkish] Ministry of Justice stated that the rate of murdered women increased by 1400 per cent between 2002-2009 - femicide in Turkey is endemic." (http://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/bingul-durbas/silencing-womens-rights-activists-in-turkey) A reminder: 2002 is the year that the AKP took power in Turkey.

  25. CommentedDavid Selim Sayers

    "The challenge of raising educational quality and attainment, especially of girls and women, remains a priority." Again, no numbers from Sachs. But here are some: "The new education reform known as '4+4+4' seems very problematic. Under the new education law, it is not compulsory to continue education after the first four years. The Child Bride project of the Flying Broom, a women’s organisation in Turkey, has recently found that, almost all of the students who are absent from school due to early marriage and engagement are female." And: "According to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) there are more than 181,000 child brides in Turkey and, the rate of parental consent for legal marriage under the age of 18 increased by % 94.2 in 2011." (http://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/bingul-durbas/silencing-womens-rights-activists-in-turkey)

  26. CommentedDavid Selim Sayers

    "Inequality is declining": Sachs gives no numerical evidence to back this up. But here is a number: "Members of our government boast the fact that we have the 16th largest economy in the world. However, it is not mentioned that when it comes to national per capita income, which truly measures the welfare and development of the people, we are the 64th worst country in the world." (Zekai Özcan, the AKP's Ankara representative in parliament, who recently resigned from his party.)

  27. CommentedSONER CANER


    Turkey with a great potential of youth population has a great chance to lead the region .

    As long as we depend on our culture , history and self -esteem power , we will influence and lead our region . Future is in the hands of east not west anymore .

  28. CommentedJames Daniel Paul

    Prof Sacs, Expectations drive growth and anxieties deter it. Turkey's "accession to Europe" has been a driver to its own growth and anxiety to Europe!!

  29. CommentedFrank O'Callaghan

    The country has also gained from the status of being stable in an unstable region. Investment tends towards stability. Capital has fled others.

  30. CommentedFrank O'Callaghan

    The key is the lessening of inequality. This is associated with economic success as increasing inequality is associated with economic disaster.

  31. CommentedGunnar Eriksson

    We should all sincerely congratulate Turkey. What Europe and the US can copy is to set visible political goals for the good of the people and countries.

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