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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: 161 - (26/10/10)

Who are the Turks?
Turkey is surely a hybrid country. It partakes of continents and past empires, notably one of its own.

The curious thing is that the continent the Turks have long wanted to belong to is Europe, not the Middle East, although they only have 5% of their territory on European soil, and that is in the Balkans, for long a matter of dispute between Turks and Europeans.

However, after many rebuffs the Turks are getting fed up with Europe. In 2004, 73%, according to opinion polls, wanted Turkey to join the EU; now only 38% do.

Still some 75% feel themselves to be Western. Ataturk’s pro - Western revolution, which took place in the interwar period, has not been in vain.

Turkey in the EU
The EU is of course the logical destiny for the Turks in many ways, since they are mostly of a secular persuasion. The EU is everything that they aspire to emulate.

Unfortunately the four million Turks in Germany and those in France have earned them a bad name, amongst the locals. The bulk of the French and Germans want no more Turks, nor may it be said south-east Europeans. There is a digestion problem. European far-right parties want a referendum on Turkey in the EU. Europe's far-right parties want an EU-wide referendum on Turkey's plans to join the current 27-nation bloc, the leader of Austria's populist Freedom Party, Heinz-Christian Strache, said on October 23.

Strache, who had invited right-wing parties from Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Slovakia and Sweden to a two-day meeting in the Austrian capital, told a news conference that the parties believed Turkey had no place in Europe and ordinary citizens should be given a say in the matter.

Europe would be "straying down the completely wrong path" if it were to admit "non-European countries" into the European Union, the far-right party leader said. "That would be the end of the European Union. It would be the beginning of a Euro-Asian-African Union, which goes completely against the project of peace in Europe and must therefore not be allowed," Strache said.

Under the EU's Lisbon Treaty, which came into effect in December 2009, a Europe-wide referendum can be held if a million people in a "substantial number of member countries" call for one. But it is not clearly defined what a "substantial number" would be, Strache pointed out.

Attending the two-day meeting were Fiorello Provera from Italy's Northern League, Morten Messerschmidt from the Danish People's Party, Bruno Valkeniers, head of Belgium's Flemish nationalist Vlaams Belang party as well as its founder Filip Dewinter, August Lang of the Slovak National Party, and Kent Ekeroth of the Sweden Democrats.

But Turkey is getting international recognition at last
But there are plenty of people outside Europe who realise Turkey's importance. As regards the IMF, "everyone thinks that Turkey is the best candidate for the Board of Directors. And that is reasonable for me, too," Dominique Strauss-Kahn told the Anadolu Agency in Gyeongju, South Korea, where he participated in a meeting of the G20 Summit.

Turkey's economy minister, Ali Babacan, too, said on October 23 that Turkey might win a seat at the board as European countries had agreed during the G20 summit to reduce their representation at table by leaving two spots to developing countries.

"There is a strong accord to boost Turkey's representation there but it is too early to say anything specific. However, a negotiation process has now opened." Babacan said. Kahn said Turkey's chances of securing a seat at the board hinged on negotiations between Turkey and the European Union, adding that negotiations could take quite some time.

Touching on Turkey's performance in weathering the global economic recession, Kahn said, "the country's economy is doing well. The growth rate for this year is put somewhere between 7.5 percent and 8 percent, which is quite high. The budget deficit looks not bad.”

The IMF head said a major question Turkey might face was how far the country would keep economic growth sustainable, adding that the country should make investments for the future. "One of the risks is inflation, which is relatively low now. And the second risk is the fiscal rule. We expected the government to implement the fiscal rule. But it didn't and may be someday it will. But I have to say that the government is acting just right as if there were a fiscal rule. And they are doing the right things without being forced to do them," Kahn said. 


 

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