The Antalya consensus

Published 18.11.2015 02:03

The G20 Antalya summit has broken new ground in many respects and perhaps is poised to go down in history as an Antalya consensus. The final declaration of the summit overtly highlights that the unfair distribution of income must be fixed through inclusive growth and regulations that will be made in favor of developing countries. G20 members affirmed in the communiqué that the year 2015 is critical for sustainable development and that their actions will contribute to inclusive and sustainable growth that will also apply to low-income developing countries. Aside from these, the declaration, where G20 members decided to reform the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) quotas and governance, emphasizes that countries must take more decisive steps toward better debt management and a fairer tax system. Another point to which the communiqué draws attention is that growth in global trade continues on a lower level than it reached in the pre-crisis period. It appears that developed countries will question their current monetary and fiscal policies, which are the two most important obstacles to growth, at least as much as developing countries question theirs. This is why most G20 countries accepted the idea that Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) must be provided with infrastructural and financial facilities in order to improve and strengthen the SME economy - which Turkey insistently kept on the agenda during the G20 Antalya summit. In this regard, the Antalya summit might usher in a new beginning that might go down in history as an Antalya consensus. Here, the period of the G20 presidency, which China has taken over from Turkey, has become more of an issue. Turkey made considerable endeavors during its G20 rotating presidency. First of all, it voiced the concerns of developing countries, which have so far been exposed to double standards from developed countries, and initiated a vision to develop institutions, which will enable eastern and southern parts of the world to equally take their place in the "new world order" to be established in the post-crisis period. Considering that developed countries adopt unfair protectionist policies against developing countries by using nontariff barriers and unilateral standardization practices, it becomes more of an issue to reduce protectionism.

Following the Antalya summit, G20 members must place emphasis on a trade facilitation agreement and put it into effect immediately. Today, the decline in growth and concomitant poverty is major because of obstacles placed on world trade, unfair protectionist measures and the West's unilateral domination. Unfair protectionist measures, which bear double standards, must be abandoned in order to overcome the current global crisis and necessary steps must be immediately taken to facilitate the global trade. The Antalya summit enabled developed countries to adopt this vision.

Of course, the refugee crisis, civil wars in the Middle East and the terror that strikes Western capitals were among the most important topics of the summit. Turkey is one of the countries that is most affected by terrorism. The G20's final declaration on counterterrorism highlighted that terror cannot be associated with any religion, civilization, nation or ethnic group.

Europe must acknowledge that terrorism is a boomerang effect - a term that was first voiced by German political theorist Hannah Arendt. The mercantilist plunder and colonization process, which led to the Industrial Revolution, resulted in fascism in less developed European nation states that failed to obtain colonies in the 20th century. The atrocity that Europe inflicted on its colonies turned against itself just like a boomerang. Perhaps, this was the stalemate of the previous century that grew into a war. The system resorted to more violence and laid up more arms to protect itself, laying the foundations of the current poverty and concomitant violence. In this regard, racism and racist politics are not specific to Germany but to the whole system.

Now, we are facing a new boomerang effect. The terror that mushrooms in poor countries and the Middle East is being exported to the West rapidly. The return to the authoritarian nation-state paradigm by sealing borders like in the previous century is not a remedy for this problem, as such a method means never-ending civil wars, occupations and poverty.

So, my impression of the G20 Antalya summit is that the West's and particularly the U.S.'s approach toward this major systemic problem is necessarily changing. Unlike in the past, developing countries, including Turkey, did not only listen to the Western countries' and Western-dominated institutions' propositions on all basic issues such as debt problems, financial regulations and the necessity of a new tax system. They also explained how problems must be handled and put across their ideas.

For instance, Argentina, Brazil, India, Russia and Turkey made significant statements on the restructuring of debts, transition to a fair and transparent tax system and the reconstruction of the IMF during the meeting that was one of the most important parts of the G20 summit and featured the topics of the increase in resistance, the improvement in the financial order and international tax systems as well as anti-corruption policies. These statements also found a place in the final communiqué.

Certainly, it is an important turning point that institutions such as the IMF work not only for developed countries but also for the entirety of the world. The achievement of a far-reaching consensus on this issue must be considered as one of the most important gains of the G20 Antalya summit. Considering all this, it is possible to accept the Antalya summit as a consensus that pays attention to developing countries and highlights inclusive growth.

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