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Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

Turkish monetary policy: playing catch-up with reality

In Economy, Turkey on October 27, 2011 at 5:28 pm

And so the inevitable has come to pass. Turkey’s central bank has departed from its controversial commitment to a loose policy stance in the face of growing signs of overheating and vulnerability in the economy. The bank signalled yesterday that a phase of marked monetary tightening has now begun. Read the rest of this entry »


Turkey’s economy: will GDP growth hit a wall?

In Economy, European Union, Turkey on June 22, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Earlier this month the German magazine Der Spiegel published a brace of articles about Turkey and accompanied them with a graphic comparing Turkey’s economy and those of a number of EU member states. A cursory glance at this graphic, which I’ve reproduced below, suggests clearly that Read the rest of this entry »

Why Turkey’s current account deficit matters

In 2011 general election, Economy on June 15, 2011 at 4:43 pm

For obvious reasons, all eyes in Turkey have been focused in recent days on the outcome of Saturday’s parliamentary elections. But the release on Monday of April’s balance of payments data by the central bank shouldn’t be overlooked. Turkey’s widening current account deficit is shaping up to be Read the rest of this entry »

One in seven Turks works for free

In Economy on November 18, 2010 at 2:29 pm

At the end of last week, TurkStat published its labour market data for the third quarter of 2010. The headline numbers continue to improve. While Turkey’s official unemployment rate remains stubbornly high at 11.4 per cent, it is on a clear downward trend. A year ago it was two percentage points higher at 13.4 per cent. (There are some seasonal factors at play in these numbers. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the corresponding figures are 12.0 per cent for the third quarter of 2010 and 14.1 per cent for the same period in 2009.)

This drop in the unemployment rate reflects strong levels of job creation. In the year to the third quarter of 2010, the number of people working in Turkey increased by 1,087,000, pushing the total size of the workforce up to 23,195,000.

People tend to point to Turkey’s relatively high levels of GDP growth as the clearest indicator of the pace at which the country’s economy is developing. But we can see aspects of this development in Read the rest of this entry »

Changes in Turkey’s export markets, 1996-2009

In Economy on November 9, 2010 at 10:02 pm

Much has been made of Turkey’s increasing efforts to develop its trade and investment links with the countries of its neighbouring regions. For some, this is one of the indicators of Turkey’s alleged turn towards the east. For others, these deepening financial ties indicate precisely the opposite, by showing commercial pragmatism at play rather than ideological realignment.

What exactly is the extent of these new ties that Turkey has been developing with its neighbours? In this post I’ll try to go a small way towards answering this question by looking at the way in which Turkey’s export markets have evolved over the past decade and a half.

My first chart illustrates the changing value of Turkey’s exports between 1996 and 2009 (unadjusted for inflation). It shows the overall value of the country’s exports each year, as well as a breakdown for various geographical regions, the two most significant of which are the European Union and the ‘Near and Middle Eastern’ Read the rest of this entry »

Turkey trails the world on social capital

In Economy, Society, Turkey on October 26, 2010 at 11:48 pm

Another week, another set of global rankings to test Turkey’s self-image. This time it’s the ‘Prosperity Index’ produced by the Legatum Institute, the 2010 edition of which was published on October 25th.

Despite the index’s name, and the fact that Legatum is a hedge fund, the rankings aren’t narrowly focused on financial performance. They are based on a wide-ranging set of indicators, which are grouped into the eight sub-indices listed in the table below.

Turkey’s overall position in the 2010 ranking is 80th out of 110 countries. This is unchanged from the position it held in 2009. On the eight sub-indices, Turkey performed as follows:

Sub-index Ranking
Economy 69th
Entrepreneurship 53rd
Governance 51st
Education 82nd Read the rest of this entry »

Is the decline in Turkey’s female labour participation rate necessarily a bad thing?

In Economy, Society, Women in Turkey on October 22, 2010 at 4:32 pm

In a recent post I noted that Turkey’s female labour participation rate (that is, the proportion of women who are in work or looking for work) has been falling since soon after TurkStat’s data series began in 1988. I highlighted the fact that this reflects the combined effects of migration and falling agricultural employment, coupled with pervasive negative attitudes to women working.

A bit of subsequent reading around makes it clear that labour force participation (on its own, at any rate) isn’t necessarily a great barometer of the socioeconomic status of Turkish women. This is because labour force data cover not just paid work, but also unpaid family work. You’ll find TurkStat’s definitions here. Look for ‘labour force’, ‘persons employed’ and ‘persons at work’. This isn’t just a Turkish sleight of hand. It reflects international definitions and is in line with, for example, the OECD’s definition, which refers to work “for family gain, in cash or in kind”.

If you have the time Read the rest of this entry »

Turning a blind eye to poverty in the east

In Economy, Society, Turkey on August 15, 2010 at 9:26 pm

I followed up my recent blog post about TurkStat’s estimates of regional poverty rates with a piece in Today’s Zaman today. The core focus remains the same: the skewing of poverty rates in eastern Turkey that results from using separate regional poverty thresholds rather than a single countrywide one.

But the TZ article has a bit more space than the blog post did to place those regional details in a bit of broader context. It looks at trends in Turkish income inequality over the past 25 years, and also highlights the sharp difference between Turkish and OECD averages when it comes to the gap between poverty rates in households with and without children.

From the article:

By any measure, Turkey is an unequal society. One commonly used metric is the ratio between the income of the quintile (or 20 percent) of society with the highest income and the quintile with the lowest. In Turkey, in 2008, the lowest quintile had an average income of TL 2,427 while the top quintile averaged TL 19,560. That’s a ratio of just more than 8:1. The OECD average is nearer Read the rest of this entry »

Damned statistics: poverty rates in Turkey’s regions

In Economy, Turkey on August 7, 2010 at 9:23 am

Turkey’s Income and Living Conditions Survey for 2008 was released at the end of July. As is always the case with these releases, and as the table at the foot of this article makes clear, it’s worth having a rummage around in the data to see what patterns may have been overlooked.

When the survey was published, considerable attention was paid to TurkStat’s headline announcement that the ratio  between the incomes of the richest and poorest 20 per cent of society was unchanged at just above 8:1 between 2007 and 2008. A bit of international context helps to put this figure in perspective. Among OECD members, only Mexico has a less equal distribution of income than Turkey. In 2005, the ratio between the income of the top and bottom 10 per cent averaged 9:1 across the OECD. In Turkey the corresponding figure was 17:1.

Given this wide gap between high-income and low-income individuals in Turkey, and given also the massive variation in levels of economic activity in different parts of the country, one would expect to see sharp regional differences in poverty levels. In particular, one would expect to see Read the rest of this entry »

Does Kılıçdaroğlu need to “bring the left back to Turkish politics”?

In Economy, Turkey on July 20, 2010 at 3:07 pm

SETA, Turkey’s Foundation for Political Economic and Social Research, has published an interesting policy brief† setting out the challenges facing Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu as he tries to restore the electoral fortunes of the CHP. Written by Ödül Celep from the International Relations department of Işık University, the briefing sets out a caustic critique of the Baykal years before proposing a number of reforms that Mr Kılıçdaroğlu should introduce in his party.

For the most part these proposed reforms are much needed and well argued. However, Mr Celep does himself no favours by presenting them in terms of movement along a right-left political spectrum. Framing the debate in this way reduces the likelihood of significant progress and distracts from the authoritarianism-democratisation spectrum that is of more fundamental importance in Turkey at the moment.

Mr Celep is rightly scathing in his criticism of Mr Kılıçdaroğlu’s predecessor, Deniz Baykal, whom he dismisses for his elitism, inefficiency, inflexibility, Read the rest of this entry »