Turkey one step ahead due to 2001 crisis experience

Being an imme­di­ate neigh­bour to Turkey, the eco­nom­ic cri­sis that Greece is expe­ri­enc­ing rais­es sig­nif­i­cant con­cerns in Turkey both at the pub­lic lev­el as well as at the gov­ern­men­tal lev­el. The offi­cial vis­it of Prime Min­is­ter Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Greece on 14–15 May 2010 demon­strates the impor­tance giv­en to this issue by Turkey.11Out­k­ou Kır­lı Ntokme: Prime Min­is­ter Erdoğan’s vis­it to Greece under the shad­ow of the Greek Eco­nom­ic Cri­sis, avail­able at: http://www.ataum.tk/haberdetay.asp?ID=204 (last access: 20 May 2010); Every­body talks about the Finan­cial Cri­sis in Greece, avail­able at: http://www.cnnturk.com/2009/ekonomi/dunya/12/15/yunanistanda.herkes.krizi.konusuyor/555548.0/index.html (last access: 20 May 2010); Mehmet Ali Birand: Turkey should stay cold to the EU, avail­able at: http://www.posta.com.tr/siyaset/YazarHaberDetay/_Turkiye__Avrupa_Birligi_nden_sogumamali_.htm?ArticleID=29608 (last access: 18 May, 2010). The gen­er­al debate in Turkey relat­ing to the Greek eco­nom­ic cri­sis cen­tres on its poten­tial impact on the eco­nom­ic sit­u­a­tion with­in the EU while hav­ing prospec­tive impli­ca­tions on the Turk­ish econ­o­my or its acces­sion to the EU. Although the glob­al finan­cial cri­sis affect­ed Turkey with­in a rel­a­tive­ly lim­it­ed scope due to Turkey’s reformed finan­cial and bank­ing reg­u­la­tions after Turkey’s 2001 finan­cial cri­sis,22Kanal­turk: Turkey is laugh­ing at the EU, avail­able at: http://www.kanalturk.com.tr/haber-detay/26313-turkiye-ab-ye-kis-kis-guluyor-haberi.aspx (last access: 9 May 2010). it is still feared that the Greek eco­nom­ic cri­sis may have a neg­a­tive influ­ence on Turkey’s prospec­tive mem­ber­ship. It is argued that, with sig­nif­i­cant finan­cial and eco­nom­ic con­cerns at the top of the EU’s agen­da, both issues relat­ing to enlarge­ment and to Turkey’s mem­ber­ship may loose pri­or­i­ty on the EU’s agen­da. The finance pack­age for Greece dis­cussed out­side the for­mal agen­da of the Euro­pean Coun­cil on 25/26 March 201033Euro­pean Coun­cil: Euro­pean Coun­cil 25/26 March 2010. Con­clu­sions, Doc. EUCO 7/10, avail­able at: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/en/ec/113591.pdf (last access: 19 May 2010). received mod­er­ate atten­tion in Turkey. Prime Min­is­ter Erdoğan’s vis­it to Greece raised atten­tion with respect to devel­op­ing prospec­tive approach­es on enhanc­ing eco­nom­ic rela­tions between Greece and Turkey.44Beril Dedeoğlu: Break­ing the Vicious Cir­cle, avail­able at: http://www.stargazete.com/gazete/yazar/beril-dedeoglu/turkiye-yunanistan-kisir-donguyu-kirmak-263221.htm (last access: 18 May 2010).

The Greek finan­cial and eco­nom­ic cri­sis clear­ly demon­strates the impor­tance of eco­nom­ic sta­bil­i­ty to sus­tain growth in the EU mem­ber states and Turkey.55EU will recon­sid­er nation­al bud­gets, avail­able at: http://www.taraf.com.tr/haber/ab-ulusal-butceleri-gozden-gecirecek.htm (last access: 18 May 2010). The lessons drawn from the Greek case for the reform of the Sta­bil­i­ty and Growth Pact can be list­ed as fol­lows: Euro­pean economies are get­ting increas­ing­ly inter­con­nect­ed and cri­sis in one econ­o­my has inevitable con­se­quences on all EU mem­ber states.66Bud­getary debt dis­cus­sion with­in the EU, avail­able at: http://www.turkiyeavrupavakfi.org/index.php/genel-haberler/1779-butce-acigi.html (last access: 10 May 2010). This shows the impor­tance of devel­op­ing an over­all sta­bil­i­ty and growth strat­e­gy with stronger finan­cial con­trol mech­a­nisms and dis­ci­pline at the EU lev­el. The reform of the Sta­bil­i­ty and Growth Pact, with the ulti­mate tar­get of finan­cial dis­ci­pline, a mech­a­nism of long-term finan­cial sus­tain­abil­i­ty, and a focus on pub­lic finance qual­i­ty and debt ratios rather than bud­getary deficits, strength­ens the pact’s eco­nom­ic log­ic.77Durukan Payzanoğlu: Sta­bil­i­ty and Growth Pact Rules: Will it let Turkey’s Debt Con­ti­nu­ity?, avail­able at: http://www3.tcmb.gov.tr/kutuphane/TURKCE/tezler/durukanpayzanoglu.pdf (last access: 20 May 2010).

The idea of “a strong coor­di­na­tion of eco­nom­ic poli­cies in Europe” is per­ceived pos­i­tive­ly by the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty in Turkey. A sol­id coop­er­a­tion of eco­nom­ic poli­cies in Europe can be an indi­ca­tor of a strength­ened EU econ­o­my. It is per­ceived that, with a strong econ­o­my at home, the EU and the EU mem­ber states can focus their atten­tion on deep­en­ing issues such as the EU con­sti­tu­tion and EU enlarge­ment, which have close cor­re­la­tion with Turkey’s acces­sion to the EU. The issue of com­pet­i­tive­ness in the EU mar­kets has pri­or impor­tance for Turkey. While the EU is going through these dif­fi­cult times, it is accept­ed that Turkey should utilise the oppor­tu­ni­ties that this peri­od brings.88Bahadır Kaleağası: Econ­o­my is not going well, avail­able at: http://www.radikal.com.tr/haber.php?haberno=147634 (18 May 2010).

The Europe 2020 Strat­e­gy and its key ele­ments received minor inter­est from the Turk­ish pub­lic and mod­est cov­er­age from the Turk­ish media.99Under­sec­re­tary of For­eign Trade, avail­able at: http://www.dtm.gov.tr/dtmadmin/upload/AB/sanayisektorDb/abzirve.pdf (last access: 18 May 2010). This mod­est inter­est direct­ly cor­re­sponds with the loss of momen­tum on Turkey’s acces­sion process to the EU, and the Turk­ish public’s indif­fer­ence to issues relat­ing to the EU’s future. Issues and debates direct­ly cor­re­spond­ing to the EU’s future or the EU’s prospec­tive agen­da are con­sid­ered to be top­ics relat­ing to the EU’s inter­nal pol­i­cy. These sub­jects are per­ceived as not hav­ing a direct impact on the EU’s rela­tions with Turkey. There­fore, these ques­tions con­sti­tute sec­ondary impor­tance on pub­lic and media agen­das. In gen­er­al, this is a mat­ter of per­cep­tion that is effec­tive in shap­ing EU relat­ed pub­lic debate in Turkey. The tar­get for high employ­ment lev­els was the key ele­ment of the Europe 2020 Strat­e­gy pri­ori­tised by dif­fer­ent pol­i­cy sec­tors with­in Turk­ish pub­lic debate.1010See: http://www.tisk.org.tr/isveren_sayfa.asp?yazi_id=2733&id (last access: 18 May 2010); http://www.tubisad.org.tr/Tr/News/Sayfalar/AB2020Stratejisi.aspx (last access: 18 May 2010); http://www.ataum.tk/haberdetay.asp?ID=216 (last access: 18 May 2010).

The reports focus on a report­ing peri­od from Decem­ber 2009 until May 2010. This sur­vey was con­duct­ed on the basis of a ques­tion­naire that has been elab­o­rat­ed in March and April 2010. Most of the 31 reports were deliv­ered in May 2010.

The EU-27 Watch No. 9 receives sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing from the Otto Wolff-Foun­da­tion, Cologne, in the frame­work of the ‘Dia­log Europa der Otto Wolff-Stiftung’, and finan­cial sup­port from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is not respon­si­ble for any use that may be made of the infor­ma­tion con­tained therein.