Friends were offended by my words… Let me explain once again…


There was no significant movement in markets yesterday, except for a rise in exchange rates. They closed with a decline even though stock market was keeping a flat/negative trend and benchmark rate was a bit high. Maybe investors didn’t get into too much trading in order to conduct a damage assessment for the last two days. Anyway, there’s a more important matter that I’d like to touch upon.

Here’s a funny thing. I received rather positive feedback for my article titled “I would be ashamed…” which I wrote a couple of days ago. Even some said, “This is the article of the year!”. However, some exporters reacted not in a too positive way, “Don’t you find it’s a bit offending?” they asked.

They might have read it right after they read those articles published a few days ago, which were written by people with incomplete and incorrect knowledge on exportation. I think that’s the reason why they reacted a bit too much with their hearts got broken. So, I’ll sum it up all for you once again:

  • First of all, I said that additional duties levied on imported goods do not help narrow down foreign trade deficit; but they lead to higher inflation as a side effect. We all should know that higher inflation leads to higher interest rates.
  • I pointed out that global competitiveness cannot be achieved by making imports more expensive; instead, Government should help lower production costs.
  • I also said that Turkey must take steps for inducing the production of value-added goods in order to help reduce foreign trade deficit.
  • I strongly emphasized that it’s not fair to make ordinary people pay for companies that are doomed to perish in the next 10 years because they will fail to adapt to technological transformation.
  • And I said that it’s just not right to make export rises in some sectors look like a huge success, especially if you are the one who imposed extra customs duties in the first place. Claiming that exports are rising because imports became too expensive is just the last word in rhetoric.

If you still feel like objecting to any of those things I explained above, I strongly suggest you to put yourself to an integrity/honesty test.

“What’s the big plan?”

After all, I’m a man of science who has always emphasized that exports are indeed important. If they weren’t, I would not be working as the Secretary-General of Turkish Exporters’ Assembly for 7 years. My late father Prof. Erdoğan Alkin used to say, “Foreign demand always is more stable than domestic demand”, which I think it’s completely true. I’m export-friendly! But, you know what they say, “You have to be cruel to be kind”.

Maybe if we were more open with each other, we wouldn’t have to get into too much dispute among us. Somebody has to declare this: “We have a dream. A self-sufficient Turkey! All the practices you deny today, they will help you thrive tomorrow. Today, we make our citizens, companies and some sectors pay the price in order to reduce foreign dependency in terms of production inputs and end products. We are aware of what we’re doing. For that, we’d like to thank them all! But, we are set to accomplish great things in the future. You just need to trust us!”

Maybe everything would be easier if the Administration explained the big plan thoroughly by showing empathy towards people who pay the price for it, instead of being oversensitive about what columnists write, or taking too much offense at people saying the truth.

We cannot say for sure whether there is a plan or not; because we don’t know anything about it (if it exists). So, in order to push the Administration to provide us all with what we need to hear, as an economist, I keep writing about what my eyes see at the risk of offending my friends.