There will always be issues regarding peace, stability, harmony and unity of countries as long as humanity exists. Coalitions, military coups, terrorist organizations and tensions with neighboring countries are natural consequences of the power struggle.
It is explained well by the theory of realism. According to realism, the priority is to gain self-interested and egoistic outcomes where moral values come second. While these issues will slow down the progress, they will not prevent nations from reaching a high standard of living.
As it is not possible to put all statistics and numbers here, those interested could find many documents about Turkish history online.
According to statistics, Turkey has always had the potential to achieve its desired goals, whether under a coalition or one-party government, since the establishment of the Republic of Turkey.
However, internal politics has slowed down progress in all areas.
The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has been the ruling party since 2002. With the stabilizing of the political entity over the last 20 years, it is clear that political stability has led to the transformation of health, defense, tourism and social policy.
The book of Turkey’s Integrated Social Assistance System by the Ministry of Family and Social Policy can be referred to as a reference for further info.
In 2020, over 500,000 citizens received aid under the Home Care Assistance program. The fields that need extra focus are economy, education and production at the moment.
I want to start with what is apparent from the statistics: Turkey’s potential growth can be between 5% to 12%. However, due to previous and ongoing issues, the most fragile aspect of Turkish growth is still the economy.
The average annual economic growth was 5.8% between 1962-1965 under the coalition government, while the average annual growth between 1965-1971 under the Justice Party (AP) led by former Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel was 5.6%.
The average annual economic growth rate of Turkey was 2.7% between 1980-1983 under the military regime. During the Motherland Party (ANAP) rule between 1983 and 1991, the average annual economy grew 5%, while it reached slightly over 7% under the coalition between 1975 and 1977. However, the rate was only 1.4% during the last coalition between 1999 and 2002.
The annual growth rate during successive AK Party governments averaged 5.4% from 2002 and 2019. For example, 5.3% in 2003, 9.2% in 2010 and 5.7% in 2015. The Turkish economy shrank 9.9% in the second quarter of 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic hit the global economy.
In 2020, Turkey’s economy grew by 1.8%, while many developed economies shrank. Since Turkey embraced a liberal market economy in the 1980s, the Turkish share in the global economy has yet to reach 2%, but to some extent, it has seen a little growth since 1980. Before 2002, the highest growth rate was 11.7% in 1966, whereas the highest growth rate stood at 9.4% in 2004.
Nonetheless, the per capita income in Turkey has been constantly declining since 2013, which in my opinion, is a serious factor to observe the plans, goals and weaknesses, and time to make a soft change in line with our future.
The growing population means a need for more jobs and improvements in civil services. Unemployment rates in Turkey were 3.1% in 1960, 8.3% in 1980, 7,9% in 1985, 7.6% in 1995, 7.7% in 1999 and 10.2% in 2002. The average annual unemployment rate stood at 7.9% from 1980 to 2002, while it was 6.9% from 1960 to 1980. Since the AK Party came to power, those rates were 10.6% in 2005, 11.9% in 2010 and 13.2% in 2020. The lowest unemployment rate was in 2012 with 9.2%, while the highest rate was recorded in 2009 with 14%.
The point should not be the numbers, which can be manipulated as well. We should not obsess about the numbers, but we should observe the conditions of the society, from poorest to richest. Hence, I strongly believe and suggest that the leadership in Turkey should have two advisory councils to see the real picture of the society.
Inflation reached the highest point in Turkish history in 1980, with 115%. Specifically, inflation in Turkey was 44.2%, 60.4%, 76.1%, 39.0% and 68.5%, in 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2001, respectively. Those rates occurred as 18.4%, 6.4%, 8.8%, 14.6% in 2003, 2010, 2015 and 2020, respectively. Turkey has successfully decreased inflation to single digits and reached its lowest rate at 6.2% in 2012, while the highest rate was 20.3% in 2018.
In 2002, there were 774 state hospitals and 107,394 beds. These numbers reached 876 state hospitals and 132,921. Meanwhile, the number of private hospitals in the country has exceeded 1,500.
Another important initiative was the General Health Insurance, which provides medical coverage to everyone across the country. There are also 18 city hospitals across Turkey.
Those interested in the statistics about the Turkish health services can find more at https://rapor.saglik.gov.tr/istatistik/rapor/
I think the most developed and developing field under the AK Party is the Turkish defense sector. Turkey’s exports have increased, and imports decreased. The total budget for military spending is $15 billion (TL 130.19 billion), which increased from $9 billion in 2002; the export from the U.S. declined by 80% compared to 2011 and 2015.
In other words, Turkey is not in the top five countries importing weapons from the U.S. In fact, MPT-76, Bora-12, L-UMTAS, Altay, Kirpi, TCG Anadolu, Hisar, Bayraktar UAV, EIRS, Fırtına-II and Atmaca are some of the domestic military projects in Turkey. In recent years, Turkey has given more attention to space exploration projects.
It is also easy to monitor the changes in the curricula of primary, secondary and high schools by the Ministry of Education. It appears that the ministry upgraded the syllabuses in line with the current technological era. The foreign language should also be given more priority across Turkey. Therefore, Turkey also needs to focus to find a permanent educational system for the next 20-30 years.
In terms of education, as of 2021, there are over 200 universities in Turkey. The number was 76 in 2002. According to the different global rankings, many Turkish universities are on the lists, but none are in the top 10 or 50. However, the quality of Turkish universities attracted nearly 190,000 international students in 2020, which was only 16,000 in 2002.
Turkey’s exports totaled $47 billion in 2003, with almost $70 billion in imports. In 2007, Turkey’s export number was over $100 billion, which was the first time it exceeded the $100 billion mark in history, while the imports were at $170 billion. Another record was broken with $150 billion in exports, with nearly $240 billion in imports in 2012. The total export and import volumes were $170 billion and $220 billion in 2020, respectively. The export recorded by Turkey’s defense and aerospace industry reached $3 billion in 2020.
Deng Xiaoping’s mottos “Keep a low profile and bide your time” and "Black cat or white cat, if it can catch mice, it's a good cat” have guided China well so far. The outcomes of a 100-year plan for China seem a remarkable accomplishment, in which they set the economy as the main target. It started with the open up and reforms era, followed by the master and apprentice era, the apprentice becomes the master period, and today, the leading the way era. It is a well, constant, complete and unobtrusive strategy of patience by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
With the transformation of the Chinese economy since 1978, China has become the second-largest economy in the world. Some issues have affected and are still affecting China as well. Nevertheless, China has accomplished stupendous achievements. It is projected that China is about to overtake the U.S. in the coming years.
It seems China is doing much better than Turkey. The leadership in Beijing looks more successful than the one in Turkey in bringing local governments and central government authorities together for the biggest aim, and is shifting focus to other cities for production, which has resulted in creating the fastest growing cities in China and new Chinese global brands.
In 1980, gross domestic product (GDP) growth was 7.9%, in 1985, 13.5%, 3.9% in 1990, 11% in 1995, 8.4% in 2000, 11.3% in 2005, 10.6% in 2010, 7.8% in 2013, and there was a consecutive decline between 2010 and 2020. The GDP has increased from an annual average of 6% between 1953-1978 to 9.4% between 1978-2012. Between 1991 and 2007, the highest growth rate was recorded at 14.3% in 1991, while the lowest was 7.6% in 1999. The three highest economic growths were realized during Li Xiannian with 15.2% and Yang Shangkun with 14.3%, and Hu Jintao with 14.2%.
The three lowest economic growths were 3.9% in 1990, 4.2% in 1989 and 5.1% in 1981. China’s fast growth rates seemed to decelerate under the leadership of Xinping in comparison to the figures of previous presidents, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. China expanded by 7.8%, 7.3%, 6.9%, 6.7% and 6.8% in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, respectively.
A stronger economy allows Beijing to become one of the world’s superpowers, enabling it to give attention to major sectors.
According to figures, China is doing better in employment than Turkey, with an average rate of 4.55% from 2002 until 2021. For instance, 4.9% in 1980, 1.8% in 1985, 2.9% in 1995, 3.1% in 1999 and 4% in 2002.
Since Xi Jinping took the office, those rates were 4.05% in 2013, 4.09% in 2014, 4.05% in 2015, 3.8% in 2019 and 3.8% in 2020. The lowest unemployment rate was in 1985 with 1.8%, while the highest was in 1980 with 4.9%.
China’s inflation reached the highest point in in 1980, with 24%. Inflation rates in China were 2.5 % in 1980, 7.3% in 1987, minus 1.40% in 1999, 0.72% in 2001, 3.10% in 2010, 1.4% in 2015 and 2.9% in 2020.
China is home to many giant companies that contribute to the growing Chinese economy. Those companies include Tencent, founded in 1998, Alibaba Group in 1999, Huawei in 1987, Xiaomi in 2010, Baidu in 1999, Oppo in 2004, ZTE in 1985, Lenovo in 1984, Sina Weibo in 2009 and Ant Financial, which was founded in 2014.
China is also known for its work on super-fast computers and artificial intelligence. Micius is the world’s first quantum satellite, launched in 2016. In addition, China has come up with projects beyond human imagination, including the artificial moon and artificial sun projects. These proposals show the tremendous development of technology in China over the last several decades.
Undoubtedly, progressive technology brings more independence and capacity to the military. As a result, domestic production and innovation can be seen highly, with a military budget of over $200 billion in 2021, compared to $20 billion in 1990. The weapons industry in China will be developing in line with the growth of the artificial intelligence and technology sector. DF-17, HQ-9B, DF-26, CH-7, C-28A, J-16, Type 094A and JF-17 are some of the weapons developed by China.
In regard to education, there are several Chinese universities in the top 50 of various global rankings. Today, almost half a million international students study in around 2,700 Chinese colleges and universities, which was 845 colleges and universities in 1999.
Chinese global trade volume has constantly been growing since the World Trade Organization (WTO) membership. For instance, 1% in 1980s, 2.5% in 1995 and over 8% in 2003. Today, in 2020, China’s share is almost 30% of the total global trade volume. The trade surplus was nearly $550 billion in 2020. The total volume of exports was $2.59 trillion while imported $2.056 trillion worth of goods.
To sum up, this short piece of paper shows how much China and Turkey have achieved and justifies the fact that the actual capacity of Turkey can go further.
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