A great market

Published 06.04.2016 00:35

I think the roundtable meeting with the chairmen and CEOs of the leading U.S.-based global companies was the most important gathering that took place during President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's recent visit to Washington. Particularly knowledge and technology-producing companies suggested that investing in Turkey will not only contribute to the country but also make it a major investment base for European, Middle Eastern and African markets. They also said they were discussing exporting capital to third countries through Turkey. Until recently, some American and British newspapers and magazines often argued that Erdoğan is pushing the Turkish economy into its shell and upholds a populist and statist economy - an argument that was refuted by the recent roundtable meeting alone. The most highlighted issue during the meeting was that in addition to being a base of commercial transits, energy and industry, Turkey is a center where European, Middle Eastern and African markets intersect with each other. Erdoğan called on American investors to confidently invest in Turkey. He said that Turkey will accelerate the reforms that it has so far carried out in order to further improve the finance, tax and investment environment, and cement its position as the most stable country in its region in terms of economy and politics. Erdoğan emphasized that Turkey increasingly maintains a fully outward-oriented and liberal economy where market entries and exits are absolutely free, adding that Turkish companies are powerful enough to be taken confidently as partners.

This meeting showed that long-term and qualified capital to be exported to Turkey and the surrounding region reveals a significant picture if we address it within the framework of the refugee problem that currently challenges us. Turkey is taking in a young and dynamic labor force - which means social and cultural integration with the region where these people come from. The mobilization of the population in this way will have economic and political consequences. I think, in accordance with the 21st-century conditions, these consequences will be for the benefit of Turkey. Before anything else, this dynamic population is a sociological carrier - which means the cultural economic and social expansion of the Turkish market beyond national borders. Such dynamism, which leads to market integration, will not only bring economic benefits, but also export Turkey's political dynamics, culture and the concomitant gains as a political superstructure to the region with which it has strong historical ties.

We will see that this social and political dissolution, which we regard as a humanitarian plight, will have surprising and healing consequences in the medium and long run. Considering that the 21st century is an era where knowledge spreads rapidly, it is within the bounds of possibility that large masses can be freed from the idle community and enabled to function as human capital that meets the requirements of the era.

I think American business circles take an interest in Turkey because of the market potential that is based on this mobilization of the population. Therefore, as much as us, they want Turkey to join the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement. Although involvement in the TTIP is a problem for Turkey at the moment, it will turn into a great commercial and economic advantage for us if we become a part of the TTIP. Many company CEOs with whom we met before the roundtable meeting in Washington said they will support Turkey in joining the TTIP and emphasized that Turkey must certainly be a party to this agreement from the beginning.

A recent article by Russian political scientist Sergey Karaganov titled "A Eurasian Solution for Europe's Crises," which was published in the Turkish edition of Le Monde Diplomatique magazine, says, "Russia is drifting away from a Eurocentric cultural and economic course toward a Eurasian alternative." This is a significant argument, as this is the reality underlying Russia's involvement in the Syrian civil war and engaging in competition with Turkey by declaring the Mediterranean just as important as the Black Sea. Karaganov also suggests that two new geopolitical macro-blocs will determine the 21st century, saying, "One centers on the U.S. and its ambition to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The second macro-bloc is "Greater Eurasia," featuring China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Iran, and possibly India." And further, we can consider the south, countries in Latin America, which started to act partially independent from the U.S., and the Pacific region, countries like Japan and South Korea, as a third bloc. Karaganov's scheme skips Turkey or replaces it with Russia. However, Turkey is in a much more important position than Russia because of its potential involvement in the TTIP, its capability to unite Chinese trade routes with the European continent, and its central position in commercial transits. Moreover, Turkey is the only alternative country to Russia in terms of energy transmission, pricing and security. If Turkey does not take part as a determinative power in Karaganov's two major blocs, it would be hard to talk about world peace today. Therefore, Turkey's stability and democracy are inevitably important for anyone at the moment and in the future.

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