Turkey - an ongoing success story - Business Works

Turkey an ongoing success story

T urkey is located at the intersection of Europe, Asia, the Balkans, Caucasus, Mediterranean and Black Sea. Being part of such a region, at the crossroads of different civilizations and cultures, Turkey has an important role and a historical responsibility as a regional actor in a wide geographical area.

Turkey is also a country which has undergone an economic transformation in recent years. The reforms were mainly done within the context of her EU accession process. In addition, thanks to the Turkey-EU Customs Union which came into force in 1996, Turkey has enjoyed customs-free exports to a market of over 500 million people.

Apart from EU integration, Turkey is playing a leading role in several international bodies, such as the World Trade Organization, OECD, and Black Sea Economic Cooperation. Turkey has been promoting peace, stability, democracy and economic welfare in its region and beyond. Turkey is one of the three standalone countries, which was declared by the African Union as a strategic partner, after China and India, in January 2008. So far, development projects in 37 African countries have already been conducted.

In today's world in which the effects of the globalization are increasingly visible, the significance of regional cooperation on international economic and commercial relations is remarkable. In this regard, let me briefly explain the recent developments regarding our Free Trade Agreements which ultimately contribute to the development of bilateral trade relations. Already, we have signed 16 Free Trade Agreements, 13 of which are in force, and the ratification process is ongoing for the remaining three. We have not only signed FTAs with regional trade partners, but also with geographically remote countries like Chili which has high trade potential.

Commerce

Turkey recorded remarkable economic success during the 2002-2008 period. The Turkish economy became much more open. Our exports were only 36 billion Dollars in 2002, which then increased to US$132 billion as of 2008 and last year's cumulative FDI figure is around US$70 billion. Our GDP was US$240 billion in 2001. Last year we reached US$618 billion and that includes a 4.7 percent contraction compared to the previous year. Our budget deficit and debt to GDP ratio came down significantly and our financial sector has done remarkably well.

Whatever the problems faced by the developed economies during the recent global economic crisis, especially with their financial sector, we had already made reforms in those areas. During the so-called global great recession, our financial sector was protected as a result of the reforms that came into effect in 2003, 2004 and 2005. In addition, we did not have to bailout any banks. Also, lower public debt and lower budget deficit gave us more room for fiscal stimulus. Since the first signs of the global crisis affecting the Turkish economy emerged, mostly through trade and financing, my colleagues immediately started to work on reducing the effects of these channels. Turkey's total exports remained above US$100 billion in 2009. In addition, we have made good progress in diversifying our export markets. For instance, Turkish exports to North Africa increased by 27.3% in 2009.

World output and trade are currently in a recovery phase. However, there are still risks in the global economy, especially in a number of Euro-zone countries. Despite this global conjecture, Turkey is anticipated to rebound in 2010 much faster than many countries. Actually OECD, IMF, IIF, World Bank and many other international organizations forecast Turkey to have one of the highest growth rates in the EU. In fact, according to the updated IMF report, Turkey is expected to be the highest growing country in Europe in 2010 - by 5.2% revised up from 3.7%.





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