Ten years in power of the ruling Justice and Development Party in Turkey have turned the country into a leader of not only regional but global level as well, and brought its economy in the top ten economies in the world. Turkey is ahead of all of the G-20 countries regarding the growth of economic indicators.
Current financial performance of the country compared to those of a decade ago is astounding.
Firstly, we evidence striking successes in the field of energy, transport, military, and education.
Since the rise to power of Erdogan’s party rapid economic growth in Turkey is being observed. GDP for the third quarter of 2012 increased by 7.7 percent compared to the same period in 2011 and reduction of GDP in 2001 by 9.4 per cent.
In addition, the country’s debt to the IMF in 2002 amounted $23 billion compared to the total of $860 million to date. Moreover, Turkey is in talks to provide the IMF loan of $5 billion.
We can also say that the energy sector in Turkey in last ten years has been prosperous. Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline project as well as TANAP and Nabucco projects in preparation stage and projects for transportation of Iraqi and Egyptian gas to Europe contributed to turning Turkey into an important player in the global energy market.
One of the important achievements in the energy sector of Turkey is designing the first nuclear power plant Akkuyu that will start producing electricity in 2019.
Along with these projects, the country is also developing projects for construction of the second and third nuclear power plants, and by 2040 plans to start building nuclear power plants independently.
Over the past ten years the transport sector in Turkey has also confidently stepped forward. A striking example of this are ambitions to restore the historic “Silk Road”, that by linking East and West will turn Turkey into a transport corridor between the eastern manufacturing facilities and western markets. In this sense, implementation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project plays a crucial role in restoration of the “Silk Road”.
Alongside, “the project of the century” Marmaray, undersea rail tunnel under the Bosphorus, being built to connect the European and Asian parts of Istanbul, will act as the final link in development of trade relations between East and West in the framework of the “Silk Road”.
It is noteworthy that the project “Marmaray” has been under consideration for 40 years; many experts have evaluated it as risky, and former Turkish leaders have delayed its implementation.
Another important factor exhibiting the economic power of the country and its defensive potentialities are achievements in the defense and military industry. In recent years Turkey has increased the production of defense industry and it now is 54 per cent self-sufficient; Turkey produces “Altai” tanks, UAV ANKA, aircraft carriers and combat helicopters.
According to statistics, over eight years Turkey has increased its exports of the defense industry four times. For the current year the country exported products of the defense industry worth a $1billion and by 2023 plans to export defense goods worth $ 25 billion.
Important factor of foreign policy of Ankara is that by strengthening cooperation with Muslim countries, Turkey, first, has found new markets for their goods, attracted further investment in the country and strengthened economic partnership with Arab and Muslim countries. Second, due to strategic location of the country and regional policy, Turkey became more active on the world stage and turned into a world power.
Most noticeably, during the creation of the Party of Justice and Development in 2001, among the objectives aimed at reforming economy and politics of the country, entry of Turkey into the EU was one of the most essential. Today, however, Turkish leaders repeatedly state that Turkey is not going to wait too long at the threshold of EU for accession to the union. Turkey’s leaders are paying attention to the fact that Turkey with its rapidly growing economy and world prestige is more needed for EU, rather than EU for Turkey.
Therefore, even a cursory examination of Ankara’s domestic and foreign policy makes obvious the fact of Turkey making significant progress in economy in last ten years, especially in times of economic stagnation and even regression in many recognized economic giants of the world, and thus, we can say that Turkey has experienced a great decade in its modern history.