The 2019 local elections, which ended with a voter turnout rate close to 85 percent, has led to history noting again Turkey's ability to protect the ballot at the international level and the depth of the country's democratic culture. Let's remind ourselves that in a world where voting ratios in European countries fell from 77 percent to 62 percent and to 54 percent in Latin America in the last 10 years, that Turkey carried out consecutive elections and referendums with voting ratios of 84-88 percent; a success that renders allegations, factoids and perceptions of manipulation meaningless or trivial.
Turkish people voting with such determination for the sake of political stability, Turkey's continuing production, exports, their work and efforts with the same enthusiasm in the morning after such a contentious election, both lead to international investors questioning the perception of Turkey being dictated to them and quickly reviewing their decision to stay away from the idea of investing in Turkey.
The Turkish people's acumen and foresight, every time, gives a game-changing lesson in democracy to international circles. Inflation data from the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (İTO) on the first day after the election shows that the annualized inflation in retail prices dropped from 18.37 percent to 17.74 percent. Important names in the business and banking community indicate that the balancing period in the economy will accelerate and that the recovery in growth will become tangible in the second half of 2019.
Turkey is a game changer of a country. A game changer for the great transformation in its defense industry and for its high-tech capacity, for its success in the fight against terrorism, by breaking records in exports despite the increasing contraction in global trade and for its banking industry, whose balance sheet performance and capacity to withstand economic stress is reflected in international reports, even with the turmoil in the global economy and the reflection of this turbulence on the Turkish economy. The Turkish electorate, with its emphasis on political stability, gave very strong support to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has taken Turkey onto a new mission in the global political economy, bringing the country to the quarterback position in Eurasia. As we continue to be a game changer, Turkey will always continue to be one of the world's most attractive investment centers.
Turkey, the country of 'unusual successes'
From the morning of April 1 and onward we are starting a new era in which we will focus on second and third generation reforms in many areas, especially in the economy. Turkey's motto or code can be defined as its ability to challenge all difficulties and its capacity for unusual success. Usual success describes a process where the result can be predicted or foreseen when the parameters and conditions to achieve success come together. If we look at just the last thousand years of Turkey's history, we can easily see that our most important virtue or ability is to achieve historic victories. This means that under visible parameters and conditions, Turkey has a higher chance of facing failure in these areas and achieving great success.
Here, at exactly this point, Turkey's invisible virtues, perseverance, ability comes in, and we make history with another success that seemed impossible within the visible parameters. Like in the past, also in the future, we will continue to realize unusual successes in defense industry technologies, smart devices, artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, the "internet of things" (IoT) and in digital transformation.
As of April 1, we are now in a new era where we will focus on tax reforms, financial reforms, new models and policies for production, and employment and growth that will bolster the Turkish economy's claims and abilities in global competition. A new period where second and third generation reforms focused on cost management will come to life with the support of critically important results from the stabilization-discipline period that the Turkish economy needed.