Sustaining Growth in Turkey

I don’t suppose it’s much of a secret that Turkey is one of the main ‘growth tigers’ in the ambit of the EU. The big issue is, I suppose, just how sustainable Turkey’s growth is. Well the World Bank is on the story, and now has a Country Economic Memorandum entitled Promoting Sustained Growth and Convergence with the European Union. As the FT notes:

Turkey needs to create more jobs, get more women into the workforce, and send its children to school for longer if it is to improve its chances of joining the European Union, the World Bank said on Monday.

I absolutely agree, and address the significant inequality between Western Turkey and the Kurdish east, may I add. But I do find myself having the thought, if Turkey does all the things which she is being encouraged to do. If Turkey becomes one of the largest and most dynamic economies in the neighbourhood of the EU, will this really increase the membership chances, or will this only make the resistance in some quarters even stronger?

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About Edward Hugh

Edward 'the bonobo is a Catalan economist of British extraction. After being born, brought-up and educated in the United Kingdom, Edward subsequently settled in Barcelona where he has now lived for over 15 years. As a consequence Edward considers himself to be "Catalan by adoption". He has also to some extent been "adopted by Catalonia", since throughout the current economic crisis he has been a constant voice on TV, radio and in the press arguing in favor of the need for some kind of internal devaluation if Spain wants to stay inside the Euro. By inclination he is a macro economist, but his obsession with trying to understand the economic impact of demographic changes has often taken him far from home, off and away from the more tranquil and placid pastures of the dismal science, into the bracken and thicket of demography, anthropology, biology, sociology and systems theory. All of which has lead him to ask himself whether Thomas Wolfe was not in fact right when he asserted that the fact of the matter is "you can never go home again".

7 thoughts on “Sustaining Growth in Turkey

  1. To the extent that the opposition to Turkey’s membership is based on fears of Turks swarming into other EU countries looking for work, an economically dynamic Turkey might be seen as a more viable candidate for membership as there would be fewer economic migrants.

  2. A significant lobby against Turkey joining the EU is the human-rights lobby. If Turkey continues to improve its record on this, it seems like its chances for accession look considerably better.

    Since maintaining a war against your own citizens is quite costly in economic terms, it seems like this is one way for Turkey to improve its economic conditions as well.

  3. The human rights lobby is mostly a smokescreen for people who don’t want Turks to join. But a succesful turkey would suck less EU money and have less immigrants which are the two of the most important no reasons. The third is religion and that is tempered when an economy is succesfull

  4. If Turkey really does all these things, then in my humble opinion, they won’t even need the EU. Countries will be coming to them to negotiate bilateral free trade deals, and they won’t have to deal with the inevitable headaches of a xenophobic Europe.

    Of course, this is all a “best case scenario” line of thinking.

  5. “an economically dynamic Turkey might be seen as a more viable candidate for membership as there would be fewer economic migrants.”

    Yes, I’m sure this part is right. If Turkey continues on its current growth path it could become a net importer of migrants ten years from now.

    “A significant lobby against Turkey joining the EU is the human-rights lobby. If Turkey continues to improve its record on this, it seems like its chances for accession look considerably better.”

    I think we agree completely about this Hektor. My concern are those people who are using the undoubted human rights issue as a smokescreen for another agenda (as Charly suggests).

    “If Turkey really does all these things, then in my humble opinion, they won’t even need the EU.”

    Well this does pose the interesting question as to whether they themselves will still need or want full membership when we get there. The experience of ‘full membership’ for the Eastern and Central European members is hardly encouraging in this regard. Good point. I think the key thing now is that the carrot of membership serves as an anchor for encouraging reform. If the reforms actually happen and Turkey becomes a vibrant and modern society, who knows what will actually happen in the end.

    As I indicate in my Turkey post today, the big unknown is what is going to happen in Iraq (and then Iran) and how all this will affect Turkey.

  6. Nearness is very important for trade so Turkey has only three other possible trading partners. The former parts of the USSR that are not in the EU (will be mostly Russia). Iran (which is poorer and with a smaller population than Turkey) and the Kalifate. Those three combined are about as large as the EU but much poorer so trade with the EU is very important for Turkey. There is also the question on what the EU would do without Turkey in the EU. Would it lock its easter boarder? (uhm, yes)

    What will happen in the Middle East is a big question but it depends on how stupid and evil the US is. Most like end will be an Iraq that kick the US out of the Middle East and takes it over.

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