The Economic Times (India) - Guided by the International Monetary Fund and the European Union’s regulatory frameworks, the Turkish political establishment is implementing focussed, sweeping structural reforms in the country’s economy, the essence of which is accelerated privatisation. Most of the changes have taken place in areas like financial (banking), agricultural, social security, energy and telecommunication, but the government, run by the avowedly pro-business Justice and Development Party or AKP, is promising to do more in the areas of labour market and taxation.
The Turkish economy has been growing at about 7% on an average in the last five years. The country’s gross national income on the basis of purchasing power parity was $663 billion in 2007, with per-capital income (nominal exchange rate) of $9,629 - double the level five years ago. Its exports in 2007 were a new high of $107 billion and FDI received, a record $22 billion. Turkey, the 17th largest economy of the world and sixth in Europe, reported a GDP of over $400 billion in 2007. Budget balance is projected to be 2.5% of GDP in 2008, against a deficit of 2.3% in 2007.
Addressing a group of foreign journalists here, Investment Support & Promotion Agency (attached to the prime ministry of Turkey) president Korkmaz is keen to project Turkey’s ‘large domestic market’ comparable to even India’s, thanks to Turkey’s easy access to 1.34 billion consumers in Europe, CIS, the Middle East and North Africa due to advantageous location. (The fact that Microsoft caters to customers in over 70 countries from its Turkish base buttresses Mr Korkmaz’s point. MNCs like GE, BASF, Xerox and P&G are also using Turkey as a base for their global operations.) Mr Korkmaz highlighted Turkey’s emergent role as an energy corridor, with ‘70% of the worldwide gas and oil resources located on the east and south of Turkey’. Natural gas coming in from Caspian area to Europe would have to inevitably pass through Turkey and Greece. As part of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, Turkey has a decisive role in Pan-European transport corridors to Central Asia. Also, the Mediterranean basin to which Turkey is a natural conduit is now more integral to east-west and north-south connections.