Turkey has had an impressive decade of expansion that saw GDP rise from $196bn in 2001 to $787bn in 2012, or about $10,400 per capita. Since 2001, real growth has averaged more than 5% per year, an extraordinary rate for a middle-income country that imports most of its raw materials. A young and mobile population provides a natural tailwind to growth, while a high level of diversification in terms of products and markets has helped the Turkish economy bounce back strongly from recent global and regional crises. Despite a decline in growth in 2012, Turkey’s performance was regarded as impressive, given that much of emerging Europe fell into recession. However, it needs to be wary of falling into the “middle-income trap”, although there is no good evidence that countries in its income bracket are especially prone to severe slowdowns. Turkey’s open economic model might miss some short-term gains by eschewing such tactics as export subsidies and import restrictions, but that restraint has also made it into one of the more competitive emerging markets, demonstrated by its high average growth rates and relatively high incomes.
This chapter contains interviews with Nicole Bricq, French Minister for Foreign Trade; Ahmet Aksu, President, Turkish Privatisation Administration; Ali Sabancı, Chairman, Pegasus Airlines; and Mark Lewis, Senior Resident Representative in Turkey, IMF.