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Economy Essay, Research Paper

I. Introduction

Economy is a science including many changeable subjects when researching in a

certain vicinity. To explain basic economic regulations of the world in a homogeneous structure does not fit the economics nature. Even if economy is a process that can show diversified changes, behind these there are concrete reasons that effect long term economic programs that should not be missed, which is historical process. When researching a county s economy, the priority should be to state that country s historical elements. My opinion about economy is that it keeps logic for all world countries, even if it s technological developments.

When researching, a good way to follow is finding the facts of the existing geography, the effects of that geography or possible effects and comparing the country that I chose and the other countries of the same region, after connecting economy with its past. This helps us to make a judgement for the country s politics of economy, its productivity and earnings from these. After examining the subjective elements in its own region, then it will be easy to put a name to that objectivity.

II. History

The original speakers of the Turkish language lived in Central Asia. They were nomads who converted to Islam. Turkish nomads expanded westward under the leadership of the Seljuk family of sultans. Their forces were unlike what is ordinarily thought of as an army. They soon raided the Byzantine Empire and opened Anatolia to Turkish settlement. Many other people, such as, Greeks, Kurds, and Armenians lived here too. They soon adopted the Turkish language and converted to Islam and became Turks themselves.

A military leader, Osman, founded the Ottoman Empire at the end of the thirteenth century. They conquered Europe, Asia, and Africa. By 1556, the Ottoman Empire stretched from the borders of Poland in the North, to Yemen in the South, and from near Venice in the West, to Iran in the East. The Ottoman Turkish administrative lay in governing what they had conquered. The survival of any government for six centuries is in itself a testimony to greatness. The Turks proved to be adaptable to new circumstances. They managed to turn their system from a nomadic state whose members were more naturally wanderers than statesmen to a settled empire with laws, taxation systems, and economic might. The state was based on tolerance of differences among its subjects. Christians and Jews were allowed to keep their religious practices. This was good for the Ottomans, because satisfied subjects did not rebel.

In the 1600s and 1700s the Ottoman central government weakened as European power increased. The Europeans were translating the benefits of the Renaissance, the scientific revolution, and the discovery of Americas into military and economic advantage. As the Ottoman Empire compressed, the Turks also began to develop a national consciousness.

The ultimate push toward Turkish nationhood came after World War I. Anatolia, Istanbul, and a small portion of Europe were all that was left to the Turks. Then in 1919, Anatolia was also invaded. Aided by Britain, France, and Italy, the Greek Army landed and took control of Western Anatolia and Eastern Thrace. The European allies took Istanbul themselves. Drawing on their old military skills, the Turks organized to save what remained. They went under the leadership of General Mustafa Kemal, defeated the Greeks, and created a new state, the Turkish Republic, in Anatolia and eastern Thrace, on October 29, 1923. Mustafa Kemal became the first president of the Republic. He devised political, economic, and social reforms that would bring Turkey in to the modern world. Once again the Turks proved to be adaptable to change. Soon after this, Turkey became a secular state. Islam remained the religion of most of the people, but the state was not religious. Other changes followed: the veil and the fez were banned and Western styles of clothing appeared. Women were given the vote and elected to Parliament. The Turkish language began to be written in Western characters, not Arabic letters. Laws were based on Western legal codes, schools followed Western models.

Mustafa Kemal s government required all Turks to change the habit of centuries and adopt family names as in the West. This is when he took the surname, Ataturk, father of the Turks . Ataturk and Turkish reformers felt that Western ways could not be adopted one part at a time. They believed that copying the industries and economies of the West was not possible unless one also accepted Western schools, business practices, and social customs. It was the whole of the Western culture that allowed Europe to develop economically, they felt, they wanted this country to develop, so the country had to Westernize. Accepting the ways of the West meant accepting democracy. In the 1950 s the Turks created a real democracy which, despite some obstacles continues to this day.

III. Background

The Republic of Turkey is located at Southeastern Europe and Southwest Asia, bordering the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea, between Bulgaria and Iran. Its is one of the few countries placed on two continents. Turkey s landmass is more than 780,000sq.km. The European and Asian sides are divided by the Istanbul Bogazi (Bosphorus), the Sea of Marmara, and the Canakkale Bogazi (Dardanelles). Anatolia is a high plateau region rising progressively towards the east, and is broken by the valleys of fifteen rivers including the Tigris and the Euphrates.

Turkey enjoys a variety of climates, changing from temperate climate of Black Sea region, to continental climate of interior, then to the Mediterranean climate of coastal regions. Their summers are hot and dry while winters are mild and wet. The geological fault that runs parallel with the Black Sea coast, from the head of the Gulf of Izmit, through Bolu to Erzurum, is responsible for the frequent earthquakes.

The population of Turkey is 63 million. This population includes 80% of Turks and 20% of Kurds. 99.8% of Turks are Muslims while there are still 0.2% of Christians and Jews. The estimated growth rate in 1996 was 1.67%.

IV. Human Development

According to the World Resources, in the year 1995-00 the Crude Birth Rate (CBR) is 21.9 births per 1,000 population, and Crude Death Rates (CDR) were 6.5 deaths per 1,000 population. The life expectancy of the total population is 71.92 years.

In 1996, 2.58 children were born per woman. Health of both the mother and the baby are negatively affected by factors, such as, mother s low level of education, early and late pregnancies, lack of pre-natal, and post-natal care, low rate of women who benefit from health institutions, unintended and unwanted pregnancies which amount to 32% and poor economic conditions of families. Changes occurring in the family structure due to industrialization and urbanization have also impacts on traditional function of the family. I believe it is necessary to back the family up with modern institutions and services, and take measures for increasing the family welfare.

About 60% of the infant and child mortality stem from preventable diseases. Deformations resulting from inadequate and imbalance nutrition, and nutritional diseases stemming from vitamin and mineral deficiencies are frequently observed in children. It is the basic objective to keep children alive and ensure their healthy development. Being a Turkish citizen myself, I believe that efforts should be carried out to extend child health services and ensure good nutrition for children for reducing child mortality.

V. Education

The literacy rate for a female is 72.4% while the males are 91.7% according to statistics from Ministry of Education in Turkey. Pre-school education could not be sufficiently developed and as a result of this 1.4 million children majority of which is girls, leave formal education after the primary school. This is why, Turkey should make efforts to include children who have remained out of the education process and provide them vocational education.

VI. Economy

The Turkish economy consists of a mixture of modern industry and commerce and of time honored village agriculture and crafts. Since the World War II it has become integrated into the West European economic arena, for example, as a member of OECD.

The economy has improved significantly since the 1994 crisis, when the economy experienced a sharp drop and inflation hit triple digits. Turkey s economy is the 16th largest in the world. The US Department of Commerce has identified Turkey as one of the ten most promising emerging economies, and a recent World Bank Study also declared Turkey on of the ten countries most likely to enter the top tier of the world economy.

In the early 1980 s, Turkey implemented a series of important economic reforms aimed at liberalizing the Turkish economy and integrating it into the global economy.

The main components of this economic reform were reducing government intervention, practice a flexible exchange rate policy, liberalizing import regulations, increasing exports, establishing free trade zones, encouraging foreign capital investment, and decentralizing government activities. As a result of economic reforms based on free market principles, the Turkish economy has experienced an average growth rate of almost 5% over the past 20 years, a record among OECD countries.

Based on the World Resources, in 1995, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita was 2,709 dollars and 2,780 dollars per capita for Gross National Product (GNP). The agricultural sector has been Turkey s largest employer and major contributor to the GNP. However, as the country has developed, the relative importance of agriculture has declined, while the position of industry and the service sector has increased.

VII. Agriculture

Historically, the agriculture sector has been Turkey s largest employer and a major contributory to the country s GDP, exports, and industrial growth. However, as the country has developed, agriculture has declined in importance relative to the rapidly growing industry and service sectors. Turkey has a far richer endowment of agricultural resources than any other Mediterranean country. Close to 36% of Turkey s land is cultivated, more than 15% of it being irrigated. Estimates of domestic resource costs in agriculture indicate that Turkey has significant comparative advantages in a wide range of products. Turkey s proximity to Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa gives it easy access to large markets through the Black Sea to the north, the Aegean Sea to the West and the Mediterranean to the South. Agriculture and agribusiness hold the promise of making a major contribution to Turkey s economic development.

Turkey boasts a wide range of fruit and vegetable production, but incurs problems in collection and distribution. Turkey is the world s ninth largest producer of fruits, and the fifth larger producer of vegetables. The country produces 80 types of fresh fruits and vegetables out of 140 products grown in the world. Out of 80 types of fresh produce, 50 kinds are exported. Although around 25% of fruit and vegetable production tend to spoil due to inadequate storage, recent years have seen the establishment of improved cold storage and packaging facilities to alleviate the waste. An additional factor encouraging the sector growth has been the rapid development of large retail chains. The sector is a priority for the government and has good export potential, as well as offering major opportunities for foreign investors. The quality of processing has also improved, and Turkey has begun to increase its exports.

Cereals are of great importance in Turkish agriculture. Wheat, barely, oats, rye, maize, and rice are the main species of cereals produced in Turkey. Turkey is the main producer of oriental type tobacco in the world. Among the main industrial crops produced in Turkey, tobacco is a traditional agricultural export item of the country. Edible nuts and dried fruit production dominates the world markets. Pistachios, hazelnuts, dried apricots and figs are very important for agricultural export. They are called traditional agricultural export products of Turkey. Turkey is one of top countries in the world as far as the number of animals is concerned. However, domestic animal output is below domestic demand, thus animal slaughter has tended to exceed animal birth rates; animal and meat imports are on the rise and exports of live animals and meat products have declined. Domestic poultry consumption has grown most quickly, largely displacing traditional meats such as lamb, and goat. Turkey has been known as a country of fishery products since ancient times. Surrounded by seas on three sides, Turkey also boasts numerous lakes and rivers where a wide variety of fish live.

Although agriculture has become a less significant sector in the Turkish economy over a period of several decades, it still accounts for a relatively larger share of total output and employment than in many other countries. Turkey has a large agricultural resource base with potential to expand output, especially through increased crop yields. In the past, the government has intervened heavily in its agricultural sector through price supports, import protection. To increase food self-sufficiency and rural development provide the right nutrition, and affordable food has been adopted among government objectives.

There are economic differences between urban and rural areas. However the government is strengthening the agriculture resource base and expanding employment opportunities by upgrading local enterprises and attracting new industries. The focus of the policy is the development of the Southeastern Anatolian Project. Big firms and holdings have an eye on the agriculture sector. In spite of the increase in production and import and the uncertain agriculture politics, firms continue investing in it. The most important reason for this is despite of the uncertainty, the positive future outlook of the sector. Role of the Southeastern Anatolian Project (GAP) is very important in this decision. It is the biggest hope of the Turkish Agricultural Sector which has underdeveloped day-by-day because of the wrong political decisions. It is expected to have a boom in the agriculture sector when the GAP is finished in 2010.

Irrigation is a means of reducing weather induced production variations. Therefore, Turkey is giving high priority to improving land and water resources and expanding irrigation. It has given about two-thirds of total public agricultural investment for land and water improvement. Environmental degradation and resource conservation are increasing concern to the Turkish agricultural sector. Intensifying production, especially by using chemical fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation, puts further emphasis on the environment.

VIII. Agricultural Trade Policy

Turkey s nearness to Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa gives it easy access to large markets. Turkey s internal market, which is characterized by high population growth rates, and growing incomes, should also experience rapid growth in demand for more food of higher quality.

The principal objectives of the Turkish agricultural policy are set out in successive five-year development plans. These are to stabilize agricultural prices, proved adequate incomes for those working in agriculture, to meet nutritional needs for the growing populations, to develop rural areas, and to develop the export potential of agriculture. Turkey has made significant improvements in opening up its borders to imports and reducing controls on exports. Free circulation of traditional agricultural products between Turkey and the European Union (EU) will become possible to the extent that Turkey approximates its agricultural policy to the Common Agricultural Policy of the EU.

IX. Turkey and European Union

Turkey is the only pluralist secular democracy in the Moslem world and has always attached great importance to developing its relations with other European countries. Turkey has always had an identity problem with regard to its position within the European system of states. Turkey does not share in the Judeao-Christian cultural tradition, but neither does it belong to the predominantly Arab Islamic culture. Turkey began westernizing its economic, political, and social structures in the nineteenth century. Since 1952, Turkey has played a full part in most Western and European international organizations, from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to the Council of Europe.

Turkey is a large country with large, Westernized towns but also backward rural areas where levels of social and economic development are still much lower than the European average. In Turkish society, differences of status, education, and wealth, and differences between Middle Eastern Islamic and modern Western customs are interrelated; together they form an open and highly dynamic pattern. Being a Turkish citizen and a person who has studied in Europe for a semester, I believe that Turkey is a country who has been caught between two continents, two traditions and two kinds of history.

X. Turkey and Greece

Problem and differences between Turkey and Greece include self governing and control over the sea, and airspace, rights over the Aegean continental shelf. Cooperation is easier to say than to practice in Turkish-Greek relations. The two countries, with political, social, and economic similarities have been constantly looking for similar roles in the international system. Most observers seem to believe that Cyprus is the key to Turkish and Greek relations. Cyprus is a very important issue affecting the bilateral relations of the two states, but it cannot be treated as the only problem between these two states. The best way of resolving Turkish-Greek differences, including those relating to the Aegean, is a process of dialogue and meaningful sincere negotiations. Understanding and friendship between Turkey and Greece will undoubtedly be to the benefit of both countries.

XI. Turkey and the Middle East

Turkey shares a deep-rooted historical, cultural, and traditional ties with the Middle East and promotes friendly relations with all the countries and people of the region. Developments in the Middle East are followed closely and felt strongly in Turkey. Turkey has always desired to see a fair, lasting, and comprehensive peace take root in this conflict-ridden region. Turkey considers the Middle East Peace Process as a golden opportunity for settling the Arab-Israeli conflict and reaching a just peace in the region. Therefore, Turkey has given her full support to the peace process from the very beginning. The success of the process is very necessary for peace in the Middle East as well as for creating the necessary environment for economic and social development. All the people of the region will benefit from a fair, and lasting peace.

Turkey welcomed the agreements signed in the context of the process so far. However, Turkey believes that it is important to honor the agreements and to carry them out so that an atmosphere of mutual confidence is created. As long as the parties live up to their commitments, there is no reason why the vision of a future Middle East where peoples of the region live together in peace and security should not become reality. Turkey has always tried to contribute to the peace process. Benefiting from its traditional ties with the Arab parties to the process and its good relations with Israel, Turkey encourages both sides for the success of the peace process. Turkey wants to play an active role in the region, both politically and economically. But while doing so, takes care not to get involved in regional disagreements or to take sides. Turkey believes that the adoption of gradual confidence-building measures among the regional countries will help reduce the risk of war.

XII. The Southeastern Anatolian Project and the Environment

Southeastern Anatolian Project, or GAP is the biggest development project ever undertaken by Turkey, and one of the biggest of its kind in the world. The integrated, multisectoral project includes thirteen major projects, which are primarily for irrigation and hydropower generation. The project envisions the construction of twenty-two dams and nineteen hydroelectric power plants on the Euphrates and the Tigris Rivers. The area to be irrigated accounts for 19% of the economically irrigated area in Turkey, and the annual electricity generation accounts for 22% of the country s economically viable hydropower potential. It is one of the most ambitious regional development projects ever attempted in the world. It covers, in addition to the irrigation and hydropower schemes, all the related social and economic sectors including transportation, industry, mining, telecommunications, health, tourism, and education.

The objectives for the development of the GAP region are, to increase the productivity and employment capacity in the Region, to organize economic and physical infrastructure in rural areas, to contribute to the national objectives of sustained economic growth, to reduce disparity between the region and other regions by increasing welfare levels in the Region.

Turkey places great importance on the development of cooperation with countries in the region on the subject of the protection of the environment. Turkey participates in the Environment Program along with the countries with coastline on the Black Sea and also takes an active role in Projects for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea Against Pollution.

XIII. Personal Interview with a Turkish Citizen

In order to gain another view on these topics, Eylem Cagri Afacan, a student at the Law Faculty of Ankara University was interviewed. Afacan, believes that Turkey is a country with a promising future. Having lived in Turkey for all his life, he sees that the country has made great improvement in increasing its attractiveness as a place to live and work, by aiming to build a strong economy and joining the European Union. He sees his country offering an excellent base for economic activities throughout Europe, the Middle East, and the Turkic-Speaking Republic of Central Asia. He says that because of its geographical location, the land connection to three continents, and the sea surrounding it on three sides, Turkey has been a good center for commerce.

XIV. Conclusion

In conclusion, this question is often asked, is Turkey Western? According to the standards of Europe and the United States, Turkey is undeveloped. I believe that this is a complicated matter because for me there are two Turkeys. There is the urban Turkey of the theatres, smart cafes, the shopping malls, and there is the rural Turkey, with its primitive housing, and its appalling illiteracy. I believe that these are not problems that can t be fixed. I think with some help Turkey can overcome these hard times and accomplish the goals. Indeed, as President Clinton noted during his recent visit to Turkey, Turkey has the potential to soon become a major player in the global economy.

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