Let’s reclaim the 'genetics' of the Turkish economy

In spite of fast-moving current events both globally and in Turkey, we once again enter the period of the Feast of the Sacrifice, Kurban Bayram in Turkish, with hope. I sincerely wish all our readers a happyBayram. It has particular significance for me that my inaugural article for our newspaper will appear on the first day of Bayram. I am submitting my article on a Thursday for the first time despite the fact that I write about current issues.

The international ratings agency Fitch was set to release its report on Turkey on Oct. 3, the eve ofBayram, at 18:30 Turkish time. At any rate, I would not have been able to include my analysis of the report by deadline. And anyway, my colleagues have probably delved into the report on other pages.    

Waking up on a Bayram morning, a morning adorned with tradition in a country that has been a cradle of civilization for 10,000 years, thoughts about the hopes of this land blended with its difficulties, pass through our minds.

As an academic I have been pondering the concept of “economic genetics” for a while now.

Turkey, China and Japan hail from imperial traditions. Due to this we carry in our DNA all the traditions of empire.

Because of this we never bowed our heads in 1,000 years of war. Like the phoenix we were reborn from our ashes. Despite all the difficulties faced, we have always been in the top 20 list of global economies due to the generosity of this land.

Manufacturing is returning to the East

More than 60 percent of global production was inAsia from 1000 – 1800 A.D. In the 1800s when colonialism reached its peak Asia’s share in globalmanufacturing dropped below 20 percent. By 2030 it will, however, raise its share to 45 percent. Taking into consideration that the oldest textile product found in Turkish lands dates back 8,500 years, we should not be surprised at Turkey’s production capability.

For thousands of years, Mesopotamia and Anatolia, which has remained within the borders of the Republic of Turkey, have been centers of agricultural, manufacturing and construction industries. That is to say that these three vital sectors have been present in these lands for thousands of years.

If a particular sector has been present in this country and involved every inch of land and all its people, it is impossible to erase it from the “DNA” and “genetics” of that country. That is why it is impossible to even consider the possibility of Turkeyfailing in the agricultural, manufacturing and construction sectors.

Considering that Turkey ranks second after China when it comes to construction subcontracting firmsand that Turkish companies carry out vital construction projects both domestically and internationally, it is not possible for anyone to strip this ability from Turkey’s “DNA.”

Just like no one can strip our ability in the fields of textiles and ready-to-wear garments and the agricultural and manufacturing industries.  

Patriot sectors cannot withstand 

Based on macroeconomic analyses following the latest global crisis, one of the primary factors that created turbulence in the economies of the United States and the United Kingdom was the increased presence of the service-based sector.

The economy of the United Kingdom has yet to completely recover from that crisis.

In the initial months after the crisis, the debate centered on the percentage Patriot sectors should have in the GDP of a country. Patriot sectors are defined as the manufacturing, agricultural and construction industries.

The general consensus emerged that the manufacturing industry or industry in general should be 25 %, agriculture 10 % and construction 7 % of GDP.

That is why it will be wrong to say that the construction industry has completed its mission in Turkey and brush aside a sector that is a major source of employment and acts as a locomotive for the economy.

At the same time if the share of Turkish industry has regressed to less than 25 % of GDP and the agricultural sector is lower than 10 % of GDP it will be vital to focus on those issues as well.

In my opinion if we develop on focused growth models for these three pivotal sectors for the next 5 and 10 years, we can guide Turkey back on the “sustainable growth” highway.
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