The Turkish manufacturing industry, which sustained its export-oriented production performance in the last quarter of 2017, had a value-added performance of 8.2 percent, while the gross domestic product (GDP) soared by 7.3 percent in the same quarter. From the last quarter of 2016 to the last quarter of 2017, the construction sector’s added value rose to 5.8 percent from 3.2 percent, the agriculture sector’s added value increased to 6 percent from 0.4 percent and the service sector’s added value soared to 9 percent from 3.7 percent.
Despite this, the overall economic growth in the last quarter of 2017 stood at 7.3 percent – which points to the possibility that the next Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) statement might revise the fourth quarter figures. Given that the first quarter growth was revised to 5.4 percent from 5 percent, the second quarter growth was revised to 5.4 percent from 5.1 percent and the third quarter growth was revised to 11.3 percent from 11.1 percent, a revision should be expected for the last quarter growth as well.
Turkey achieved the highest growth rate in 2017 among the G-20 countries and ranked second after Ireland among the 35 countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In a conjuncture, where the world’s leading economies have applied all kinds of measures and monetary expansion in order to grow, Turkey has eliminated the attacks of all the terrorist organizations in the past one-and-a-half year by mobilizing national and local opportunities through successful cross-border operations.
Moreover, it foiled Gülenist Terror Group’s (FETÖ) treacherous coup attempt on July 15, 2016. No other country could have spearheaded economic recovery if it were in Turkey’s shoes, but against all odds, it achieved a record economic growth in 2017, showing how strong the country’s economic, social and political dynamics were. Moreover, Turkey created an additional 1.635 million jobs in 2017 which was 2.4 times more than the average in 2016.
The leading indicators of Turkey’s economy indicate that its performance in 2017, the dynamism of its economy, exports moving to a record $170 billion, and some serious recovery in the tourism sector will have a reflected on its growth in 2018.
At this point, accelerating reforms on cost management, which will strengthen the global competitive position of Turkey’s real sector while strengthening its profitability and accelerating private sector investments, will trigger a new wave of success in 2018.
The future of EU,
with or without Turkey
The meetings and summits jointly held by Turkey and the European Union’s business communities and non-governmental organizations have long focused on the fact that good bilateral relations meant a win-win situation for both. Therefore, both business communities attached great importance to the results and the messages of last week’s Turkey-EU Summit in Varna, where President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
On one hand, Turkey is sick and tired of EU leaders’ messages that “the dialogue must continue,” while on the other EU has failed to give a proper response to Turkey’s constructive steps in many areas, including the refugee issue. Turkey is requesting the EU to leave aside the call for dialogue and take concrete steps.
Turkey wants the EU to take sure steps to accelerate its accession negotiations, the opening of new chapters, visa freedom and the modernization of the Customs Union agreement.
Oddly enough, China’s rising claim in the global system and the tension in the South China Sea, which Tusk called a major risk and threat for the EU, as well as Russia’s aggression against its neighbors, the escalating war in Syria, terror and anarchy in the Middle East and Africa require the EU to go far and beyond maintaining a dialogue with Turkey and deepen economic, commercial, military and political relations. A NATO that is gradually losing its functionality due to the growing tensions over trade between the U.S. and the EU and the aggressive attitude of the former poses a great risk to the present and future security of the EU.
The three critical threats defined by Tusk are bringing the EU to a gap in terms of regional and global security, due to the U.S.’s selfish attitude. The EU with Turkey will feel more sheltered against these critical three threats politically and militarily. And the economic-commercial cooperation with Turkey offers significant opportunities for sustainability in terms of global competition to EU companies and economies.
In contrast, an EU without Turkey will be vulnerable to the severe negative effects of the three critical threats Tusk talked about and will be deprived of Turkey’s leverage effect in global competition. It will be good for EU leaders not to overlook these issues.