Recently, in developing countries including Turkey, consumer price inflation substantially increased in parallel with increases in food prices. As a matter of fact, the annual increase of consumer prices in March in Turkey was 8.39 percent. This rate is not pleasant for the central bank but the Turkish central bank is not worried at all about this boost. From the second quarter of 2014 on, a recovery is expected in the foreign trade deficit in line with an increase in industrial production and exports. It is definite that new balances, including inflation, will be positively reset with this positive sign. The fact that chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve Janet Yellen implied that the increase in interest in the United States may be delayed to 2016 relieved many developing countries. However, on this very point there is a highly important problem that will not only disturb developing countries but also the developed.
The Food Price Index of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) increased suddenly by 4.8 points in March. This is really serious. The grains price index drastically increased by 10 points and climbed to 205.8 points in March, while the Oil Index increased by seven points and reached 204.8 points. Is the world heading toward a food crisis that will affect all humanity beyond the economic and political disputes about the crisis? This very question is one of the most important problems that we equally ignore and avoid discussing.
For instance, the increase in the FAO Index in March is linked to political tensions in Eurasia, weather conditions beyond the seasonal norm in main producer southern countries like Brazil and other factors. However, it is estimated that the decline in grain production, mainly wheat, will continue due to similar causes. The United Nations warned about a small-scale food crisis two years ago for 2013 and 2014.
In addition, agricultural policies and a commercial cycle built to the detriment of developing countries and conducted by the EU and the U.S. will draw forth the crisis.
In 2013, it was stated in a joint report by the FAO and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that a 40 percent increase in food prices in the next 10 years is inevitable. Now, this prediction started to come true. So, what should be done? What steps should developing countries like Turkey take?
First, we have to examine the source of this problem. In India in 1928, Gandhi wrote, "May God save India from going into the path of a Western kind of industrialization.
Economic imperialism of a small island kingdom [Britain] shackled the whole world. If India of 300 million people adopted a similar economic exploitation, it would plunder the world like a flock of crickets." Yes, Gandhi was so right. The world order starting with the Industrial Revolution and continued with colonialism was based on depriving the majority of the world of natural resources and plundering them for the benefit of a small minority. Let's stay on India. In the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank in 2006, Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh went up to the rostrum and delivered a calm but highly determined and political speech. It seems as if he is pointing out the crisis that will emerge two years later in the West. He says, "Enough is enough!" Yes, enough. In particular, Asian countries with surpluses should give up financing the West, primarily the U.S. They should make investments in the East and South in humanitarian development projects. This is how the upcoming food crisis and hunger crisis may possibly be prevented.
Listening to this speech, an observer from the U.S. stands up hastily and starts talking. "But this crisis gets on top of everyone. If the hegemony of the U.S. were to finish, the West would rapidly collapse. You cannot venture that," he said. This very anecdote told by Giovanni Arrighi, who was a sociology professor at John Hopkins University in the U.S., summarizes everything. We can say that developing countries today do not adopt a development route like the West despite the rapidly increasing human capital and the advantages of population and technology. Eastern development is more humanitarian and constructive. That is what we see now.
Turkey is the first fourth country in urgent humanitarian relief. The West can never understand this approach as it pertains to Eastern and Islamic culture. In fact, this is the updated version of Eastern development that I just referred to and that Arrighi clearly explained.
Yet more, this is, at the same time, an economic policy that has financial bases and can be realized in no time. If the populations of China and India, which are heading for 2.5 billion people, and their technological superiorities converted to plunder today like Britain's plundering policy back in the 19th century, there would be very few people who would survive hunger. However, if countries like China, India and Turkey established a new cycle from product standards to agricultural policies, everything - including the upcoming food crisis - would recover at a high speed.
Today, central countries like Turkey, which links the central and southern commercial corridors, regarded as the New Silk Road from Asia and Europe and enables peace and integration through new energy routes on these lines, can prevent the food crisis. The only way to prevent the food crisis in the short-run is to establish peace and integration at a fast pace. Turkey's changing foreign policy reflects this main approach.