Each Country Has a Different Founding Philosophy.
The difference between the founding philosophies of the countries brings along economic, social, diplomatic and political differences as well. For example, an American explains the founding philosophy of the United States as follows:
“…Although our founding fathers knew that democracy was not a flawless system, they believed in free will. They thought that the choices people make in respect of their rights and liberties would make this imperfect regime sustainable. If the US ever decides to leave this philosophy behind, everyone in the world will lose respect for free will. ”
A quite pretentious statement, if you ask me. That’s because “free will” in the United States had favoured the white people until the 1970s. It can also be observed that, throughout the US history, American leaders have always deemed themselves entitled to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs, the decisions that people in other countries made with their own free will. From this perspective, “free will” looks like an instrument that does not belong to even Americans, but is used carelessly by those in power in the US government. Nevertheless, the struggle for freedom that the American people have waged among themselves and against others since the establishment of their country, and legal struggles to ensure gender equality and eliminate racial discrimination have all set an example to the whole world. For instance, the fact that Muhammad Ali was first convicted and later pardoned by the Supreme Court for his campaign against the Vietnam War is a notable example of the proper functioning of the rule of law in the United States.
Turkey’s founding philosophy, on the other hand, sets forth public-private sector cooperation, and equal treatment of all citizens before the law. Education and production are the building blocks of Turkish Republic. Driven by his motto “Peace at Home, Peace in the World”, Atatürk thought, since the first day he founded our republic, that it would not be wise to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, like the US did and still does, and adopted a philosophy that always seeks to have balanced relations with the East and the West.
“Public Enterprises in Turkey”
Unlike the United States’ completely free market environment, Turkey aimed to establish an economic system in which financial and capital markets are regulated by government authorities. For this reason, public banks, public industrial enterprises, public trade enterprises, and public insurance companies were established to support the private sector’s activities. Essentially, the purpose of their establishment was to perform the job of the private sector, which does not have sufficient capital, for a certain period of time, in order to prevent unfair competition or anti-competitive practices.
With the market-distorting effects and enormous losses of public companies over the years, privatizations began in Turkey as well as all over the world in the 1980s, companies, rights and licenses were transferred to the private sector. Although there are not many public banks in Turkey today, it is interesting to see that they are among the country’s largest banks in terms of both loan growth and deposits. Likewise, our national flag carrier airline Turkish Airlines, largely owned by the state, currently has the largest international flight network in the world. However, I find it absolutely necessary to run an analysis to reveal whether the economic presence of the state in energy, insurance, food, communication markets and port management actually brings any benefits to the country. I also observe that the fact that some industries are quasi-private or quasi-public, whereas maybe they should be owned and run only publicly or only privately, is disrupting the markets.
This disruption may be due to the fact that public entities operating in areas in which the private sector is also present, such as Ziraat Bank, Halkbank, Vakıfbank and Turkish Airlines, were not founded with a specific purpose or vision. In energy and communication sectors, on the other hand, the process and the operation are quite different compared to 50 years ago. As for the food industry, food itself has become a matter of safety. Accordingly, I would suggest the necessity of reviewing, and changing if necessary, mission and vision statements of public enterprises operating in different sectors.