Turkey's “national economy” move, starting in the 1960s during the planned economy period, comprised of focusing on big investments in industries and fields such as iron-steel, petrochemicals, aluminum, automotive, engine and cement, prioritizing import substitution policies.
Oddly, despite the fact that Turkey was a member of all of the institutions established by the U.S. – the leader of NATO, the Western countries hardly gave any support to Turkey’s heavy industry moves.
Almost all of these critical investments were made with the technical support of the Soviet Union.
Former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan and former presidents Süleyman Demirel and Turgut Özal all showed important leadership and efforts in this process.
Even though former President Celal Bayar and former Prime Minister Adnan Menderes took important steps for the development of the private sector and for it to increase its weight in the Turkish economy, Turkey's historic industrialization move is actually a process that entered its first phase during the time of founding leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and then its second phase with the politicians of the 1960-1980 period.
The 1990s, on the other hand, were 10-12 lost years for the Turkish economy with the crises of 1994 and 2001 and under the shadows of coalition governments that kept crumbling.
Now for Turkey, a new generation national economy means a move toward industry, energy and agricultural production based on domestic-national digitization platforms, high-tech, smart systems and artificial intelligence.
It prioritizes that Turkey becomes an economy that can carry out research and development (R&D) activities in its defense, aviation, space, information technology, new generation of intelligent factories and new generation unmanned vehicles for air, sea, road, and railroad with its own national resources and capabilities.
This means that Turkey can fully control its region as Eurasia's quarterback country with a new generation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and armed UAVs, new generation of ammunition, new generation fighter aircraft projects and new generation air, land and sea defense systems.
With its “Blue Homeland” strategy, Turkey has the ability to protect all maritime trade corridors and hydrocarbon facilities in the Eastern Mediterranean, Aegean, Marmara and the Black Sea and is showing it's unavoidable and deterrent power. I stand with Turkey in these struggles because I trust Turkey.
Production to help stand out
The COVID-19 global pandemic has had an effect on emerging markets (EMs) that seriously slowed down the actions they have undertaken over the last 20 years in order to close their per capita national income gap compared with developed countries.
In particular, the negative pressure of the 2008 global financial crisis on developed countries forced emerging markets, which grew by an average of 4% in the early 2000s and attained a growth trend of 3% even after falling to below 2%, again to a growth trend of 2% and below.
The EMs, on the other hand, having caught an 8% average growth band before the global financial crisis, could not prevent falling first to an average of 5%, then to a band below 4%, even though they regained a growth of over 6% after the crisis.
COVID-19, on the other hand, will cause emerging markets to experience an average of 3% contraction in 2020. The forecast for 2021 suggests that after the outbreak, emerging markets need to reach a real growth band of 5% and above again. However, this has to continue at least until 2030.
Otherwise, it will be very hard to close the standard of living gap between the developed countries and the emerging markets.
The developed countries, on the other hand, having already set up the move to preserve the difference in living standards in the most effective way by encouraging the service sector, presented the manufacturing industry fields such as textile, iron-steel and cement, ironically, as outdated areas of production, especially in the 2000s, and the EMs were encouraged to focus on the services sector.
We witnessed that, rather than employing the young population in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors, they were encouraged and still continue to be encouraged to work in the services sector and as white-collar employees using media resources and even ministers to communicate this strategy.
Whereas, for a country such as Turkey with a brilliant history, know-how and a fantastic future in the manufacturing industry and agriculture, our priority should be to encourage the young population to put forward their labor in the manufacturing and agriculture sectors.
Scholarships in the relevant sectors to encourage engineering and technical staff training are of critical importance.
While the share of the manufacturing industry in Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP) was 17% in 1990, this ratio approached 35% in 2005. Today, it is at 20%. Although the same rate was 29% in Brazil in 1990, it is 10% today. In 30 years, South Africa could not prevent it from falling from 22% to 12%, India from 18% to 14%.
Meanwhile, following the fall of Turkey’s share of 22% in 1990 to 15% in 2010, it is again approaching 20%.
A comprehensive strategy is being drafted and important moves are being made to increase the weight of the manufacturing industry and agriculture in Turkey’s value-added with new investment and financing opportunities in order to put Turkey in a very different and strong position on the EM side. We will see the positive effects of these moves in 2023.
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