Turkey, US should focus on bilateral trade

Published 20.04.2019 02:05
Updated 20.04.2019 02:23

Turkey, regarding its alliance with the U.S. over the last 70 years and its role in the security of the Atlantic wing, has been the economy that was most affected by the unique, intense pressure of the Cold War and paid the biggest price. After the Foreign Investment Law was enacted in 1954, Turkey, which struggled to attract a total of $200 million in foreign capital investments in its first 26 years until 1980, attracted $54 billion in foreign capital investments between 1980 and 2006. Turkey has fulfilled all its defense spending and investment commitments in the NATO agreement as a member country and has continued to uphold its indispensable position in Europe's security. Turkey-U.S. relations, which were especially damaged over the last 18 years, have faced many developments that did not comply with the responsibility laid down by Turkey over the past 70 years and that has upset and offended the Turkish people.

The new powers encouraged by the U.S. attitude, following the "Age of Reason" motto of the 21st century, have accelerated the steps to advance their economic, military, political and cultural relations with Turkey. A number of events and projects have been carried out between Turkey, Russia, China, India, South Korea and Japan to get to know each other's cultures better and promote more commercial cooperation.

China and Russia invested in the Turkish banking sector and steps were taken together in strategic sectors and areas such as information technologies, nuclear power plant projects, digitalization and energy pipelines. For the past 18 years, contrary to what was predicted, the Turkish business community has not seen a move from the U.S. business world toward more intense investment and trade. The U.S. did not make the expected moves to cooperate on mega projects and to make the best of the opportunities presented by an emerging economy like Turkey.

This is why President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Donald Trump called for a "new era" that will carry Turkey-U.S. relations from their narrow field, ahead of the security-defense frame of mind that the U.S. has locked itself in, to raise the trade volume to $75 billion toward a large space where many economic and commercial opportunities will be evaluated together. For this reason, Trump's meeting with Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, a first in the history of Turkish politics, is also important. Steps to disrupt the games of global and domestic actors that are trying to poison Turkey-U.S. relations will be made during this trade-focused period.

'IMF manipulation' despite the IMF

The 2008 global financial crisis was costly for all leading developed and developing economies in terms of their ability to cope with its global consequences, leaving a heavy burden for some and light for others. The U.S. and many European countries paid a heavy price, including Iceland, which went bankrupt. During this period, for the Turkish economy to balance the effects of the crisis, the question of whether Turkey should again make an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was open for debate. To be honest, during those days, I thought that we were debating this as a technical issue on the level of it being necessary or not necessary.

Over time, while following the process of Turkey building its independent political stance on a global and regional scale with its riveted national will with great pleasure and trying to contribute to the process on my personal scale, I realized that this non-negligible group was bringing the IMF to the agenda because they were actually not content with Turkey's efforts to establish relations at equal levels and on an equal platform with the global powers. This is why you will see that this group, inside and out, speaks about the IMF on every platform, claiming that the economic administration is secretly meeting with the IMF after every referendum or election, as they did after the July 15 coup attempt. We can now clearly see that the "Turkey will make an agreement with the IMF" agenda is being rapidly injected into markets and business circles.

Moreover, IMF's European Board Director Poul Thomsen, who met with press members as part of the IMF and World Bank spring meetings, said that there has been no unofficial or secret meeting on providing financial aid to Turkey. Thomsen, while highlighting that Turkey was taking important steps to strengthen its monetary policy, referred to the importance of continuing a tight monetary policy. I wonder, despite this very clear statement, whether this group will continue pushing their IMF agenda.

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