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Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 237,972 182,848 147,700 21
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 2,790 2,500 2,530 92
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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Update No: 131 - (28/04/08)

Ataturk recidivus
There is one perennial factor in Turkish politics – Ataturk. He is the constant touchstone of his nation's very identity, its secularism and attachment to modern Western values. He was a very remarkable man, the equivalent of Churchill, De Gaulle and Roosevelt, a true saviour of his country. 

Turkey celebrated on April 23 a landmark event in its history, the foundation of the Turkish Parliament on Apr 23, 1920. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, already a military hero, was elected as the first speaker of the parliament.

The opening of the parliament followed by the foundation of the Republic in 1923, transformed Turkey from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire into a modern, secular and democratic country based on the nation-state principles of the French Revolution. The parliament embarks the beginning of the Ataturk Revolution.

In 1924 it was decided to celebrate the April 23 as "National Sovereignty Day"; in 1929 as the "National Sovereignty and Children's Day." The day is an official holiday in Turkey.

The celebrations started with the MPs visits to Ataturk's Mausoleum, Anitkabir, and laying wreaths to monuments of Ataturk. Within the framework of the celebrations, children visited the offices of statesmen and symbolically assumed their titles. The Ataturk Revolution is to be handed on from generation to generation, making it eternal.

Political leaders and the president delivered speeches at the parliament which convened with a special agenda. A reception was held at the parliament in the evening. Turkish President Abdullah Gul held a luncheon in Cankaya for all political party leaders present in the parliament.

Iraq, US and Turkey discuss PKK in Kuwait
There is another perennial hangover in Turkish politics, however, the breakaway propensities of the more radical Kurds.The foreign ministers of Iraq, Turkey and the U.S. met in mid-April on the sidelines of a conference of Iraq's neighbours as the Washington administration welcomed the cooperation between Ankara and Baghdad in fighting the terrorist organisation, the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK).

US. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on April 21 that she was pleased with the cooperation between Iraq and Turkey toward fighting Kurdish militants on Iraqi soil. Rice told reporters in Kuwait everyone is "concerned that Iraq not be a place that can be a haven for terrorists to attack Turkey." She added "cooperation is producing some results there."

Rice also said the PKK is "an enemy of stability and therefore an enemy of Iraq, Turkey and the United States." Turkey launched several aerial attacks and a major ground operation in northern Iraq against outlawed PKK positions in February.

The Turkish foreign minister, Ali Babacan, said the fight against the PKK continues with the support of the U.S. and Iraq, and Turkey is ready to contribute to the efforts for stabilising the new Iraq.

The foreign ministers also discussed ways to improve cooperation between their countries in areas, such as the economy as well as energy, reported the Anatolian Agency reported, citing a diplomatic source. Babacan and his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zabari expressed their pleasure at improvements in the relations between the two neighbouring countries.

The expanded ministerial meeting of Iraq's neighbouring countries was held in Kuwait on April 22. Babacan was representing Turkey in the meeting, which also brought together representatives from the U.N. Security Council, the European Commission, the Organization of Islamic Conference and the Arab League.

S&P says Turkey vulnerable as IMF warns
The world economy is in a jittery state, with possible melt-down feared in the US and it spreading elsewhere. The international rating agency, Standard & Poor's said on April 21 that Turkey is among the economies most vulnerable to a credit squeeze, as the IMF warned about the high level of corporate borrowing.

Turkey must be vigilant about its level of corporate borrowing, which is higher than other countries in central and eastern Europe, Ajai Chopra, deputy director of the IMF's European Department told reporters at a news conference in Vienna. "In the Turkish case, they have greater exposure to corporate borrowing," Ajai Chopra said. "That is something they will have to keep a watch on." As of the end of last year, the private sector foreign debt stock in Turkey was $158 billion.

Chopra also said that Turkey, like other economies in the region, should heed advice given by the IMF in its European report released on April 21. This included tighter macroeconomic policies and keeping an eye on inflation in particular. "Inflation pressures are definitely a significant concern in many countries in emerging Europe," Chopra said. He said policymakers needed to decide promptly how to deal with domestic and external pressures. "For many of these countries, some of the standard indicators of macroeconomic vulnerability, for example the size of the current account deficit, are flashing red," he said. 

The IMF said in its European report that it predicted a significant slowdown in Western Europe and a less marked deceleration in the central and eastern part of the continent, where it said the central banks of many countries needed to tighten rates further.

The IMF warning came a day after S&P released its survey in which it classified the economies into five categories based on their vulnerability to the global credit crunch's statement. The ratings agency listed Iceland as the most vulnerable, followed by Romania, Lebanon and Turkey, while Chile was rated the least vulnerable.

According to the survey results emerging economies in Eastern Europe are the most vulnerable to a global credit squeeze, while their counterparts in Latin America and Asia were better insulated from the U.S. mortgage meltdown. 

IMF predicts Turkey to become world\'s 15th largest economy 
Longer-term prospects, however, are more favourable to Turkey. The latest forecast in the World Economic Outlook of the IMF has revealed that, with the adoption of revised national accounts using improved methods of calculation, Turkey's GDP in terms of purchasing power parity will climb to USD 941.6 billion as of the end of 2008.

IMF has published its predictions on countries for the 2006 to 2013 period in its World Economic Outlook, assessing Turkey with its new figures, which the Turkish Statistics Institute updated in accordance with a new basis year. Turkey had been calculating its national accounts by taking 1987 as the basis year, following UN procedures. However, it recently switched to using 1998 figures as the basis for calculations and adopted the methodologies of the EU. This change in method caused the GDP of the country to grow by one-third on paper. Turkey is currently accepted as the 19th largest economy in the world.

This change in methodology does not create real growth in the economy, but it does include parts of the economies that previously existed but were not taken into consideration in GDP calculations. Calculations performed by the Anatolia news agency on the IMF predictions for world economies show that Turkey would remain in 19th place with USD 773.7 billion if it had not changed its system.

Turkey's gross national product, on the other hand, is expected to be USD 748.3 billion for 2008, and this figure will keep it in 17th place among the world's largest economies in terms of GNP.

Although Turkey is among the leading economies in terms of the aggregate size of its economy, it is located somewhere in the middle in terms of the per capita gross domestic product in terms of purchasing power parity. Turkey will be 60th after Malaysia with its USD 13,511 per capita GDP.

The figures obtained from the IMF report also indicate that the world's wealthiest people will be living in Qatar, where the per capita gross domestic product in terms of purchasing power parity will be USD 84,833 by the end of 2008. It will be followed by Luxembourg with USD 83,456 and Norway with USD 55,452.

Another striking prediction from the IMF is that India will pass Japan by 2013 if it can maintain its current pace of development. Brazil will become the eighth largest economy in 2013, surpassing France. South Korea will replace Canada to become the 13th largest economy. The Netherlands is expected to drop out of the top 20 league this year, but Poland, currently 21st, will enter this group for the first time.

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