Collaboration a way out of crisis, Turkish minister says
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Countries need to work together on many issues including anti-terrorism efforts, energy security, clean water, the clash of civilizations and the global financial crisis, Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek said yesterday at the 15th Eurasian Economic Summit in İzmir.
The global economic crisis was the biggest obstacle facing the world, leaving developing economies strapped with debt and slower growth and faced with finding ways to increase employment opportunities, he said at a session called “Three Continents and One Sea.”
Turkey is relatively lucky in the face of the global financial crisis, said Şimşek.
In the current period, 3.4 million Turkish citizens found employment, he said, but added that in the next 10 years, 600 million people worldwide would seek employment.
With the current modest growth rates, fulfilling this demand would not be possible, said Şimşek, adding that rising energy demand and fuel prices were triggering poverty.
Developed Asian economies
Over the next 40 to 50 years, developed economies in Asia will gain considerable ground, according to Şimşek.
“With the changing power balance, we can see new fault lines developing. Unless we collaborate both in terms of economics and politics, and people go their separate ways, the world will be faced with some serious problems,” said Şimşek.
Turning to the particulars of the Turkish economy, Şimşek said the country had managed to bounce back from the global economic crisis rather quickly and even surpassed its pre-crisis performance.
“Our national revenues are 11 percent more than the pre-crisis period and we have created record employment,” said Şimşek, adding that Turkey had also managed to alleviate poverty.
In 2002 0.2 percent of the population survived on under one dollar a day. Today this figure is zero and 2.3 percent of the population, which had subsisted on $2.15, dropped to 0.2 percent.
Turkey’s budget deficit
Şimşek said Turkey’s budget deficit had narrowed considerably and that Turkey’s public debt as a percentage of GDP had fallen well below the Maastrict criteria in contrast to other countries where the opposite is happening. Turkey will also surpass the G-7 countries by 2050, he said.
In terms of Turkey’s weaknesses, Şimşek said Turkey was still not saving enough and that it was still not up to par with China and Asia in terms of competitiveness. He also admitted that external energy dependence was the country’s major Achilles’ heel.