I had to deal with so many questions over the phone as well as in person while I was watching Ministers’ oath-taking ceremony yesterday.
“Olaylarla Türkiye Ekonomisi” (Milestones in Turkish Economy), the book I co-authored with Yalın Alpay actually comprises all the answers to all questions. In this study where we investigated the impact of different forms of government on the economy over the history of Turkish Republic, we revealed that lira’s depreciation is almost a constant phenomenon. So, you don’t need to worry since there is no way that Turkish economy will collapse because of sharp rises in exchange rates.
However, there is this unignorable fact that a lot of companies have sadly disappeared due to bad decision-making, especially involving the quality of human resources and technological infrastructure, while the cost of living and inflation were becoming uncontrollable by reason of creating Domestic Industry through the implementation of high trade barriers, eventually leaving companies fatter than ever whereas they should have been stronger.
To tell you the truth, if it weren’t for the Customs Union, any of the industries that we are so proud of would be alive today, we would have no other option but to buy goods made by a couple of family-run businesses. The ruling party’s “Do not forget the past” message is wrongly perceived by many as a reference that people were living in poverty and with hardship in 1980s and 1990s. Let me clarify a few things for you. Although no one could talk about the “poverty” back in the day, the “wealth”, however, was handed over to family-owned holding companies. The market as a whole was almost managed by key oligarchs. The reason why people were waiting in line for hours and hours was not the poverty; it was in fact these oligarch families’ tendency to stock up on goods, operate as cartels and take advantage of buyers. I remember like it was yesterday, they have almost operated as an official black market.
“Let’s not make the same mistakes twice…“
Trade walls that are being built again today will never work for the good of people; instead they are built to protect businesses which won’t probably exist 10 years from now. I have warned so many times about the guaranteed dangers of implementing trade barriers, I even made statements to the press about this very problem. Almost all of those I have spoken to felt offended, without even properly listening to me.
It is now obvious that most of the business groups, which have been protected during the 1980s, are incapable of creating anything that can help Turkey take a ground-breaking step. Almost each and every company is producing white appliances, ready-made clothing or car tires. To start a supermarket chain or own a bank is not real success either. We will never be able to keep up with space age technologies unless we deliver something so amazing that will make the whole world say, “If it is made by Turks, there is no way it can be useless”.
I am having a hard time not laughing at those who are harshly criticizing the new cabinet are actually the ones who have heavily benefited of the unfair competition in the 1980s. I find it quite inappropriate that people who have never done anything useful or remarkable on a global scale actually dare to criticise government policies.
However, there are also some much-appreciated business owners producing goods and with high-value per kilogram, and providing high-quality services. And on the contrary to those interest groups, they only focus on doing what they should do in accordance with the requirements of 21st century business people, without uttering like “Don’t make me fire all of my employees!” I don’t know about the others, but I do know that we should do the best we can to ensure these people will always stay with Turkish economy.